Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How To Fix Your Defective Blu-Ray Drive...

The Xbox One launch that took place last Friday was for the most part smooth and uneventful.  The Xbox Live service stayed up unlike it's PS4 counterpart on the first day and most gamers from around the world were able to give the new Kinect a try.  But one thing made a negative impression for a couple of thousands of Xbox One enthusiasts: the Blu-Ray drive was defective.  Many people reported that it made scary grinding sounds and they were not able to install games from any disc.  Bummer.

Well, if you are one of the unlucky gamers and you are patient, you can call the Xbox One support line and wait somewhere between 30 to 60 minutes to get your console replaced at no cost.  Microsoft will even give you a free digital copy of one of the following games: Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome and Zoo Tycoon (Source: polygon.com). Not a bad move, although receiving a defective console at launch is probably the worst...

But, if patience is not one of your virtues, take note that "a few whacks is all it takes".  Yes, you read that right.  We do not encourage our readers to do so, but desperate times call for desperate measures...

Many users have reported that this method fixes the Blu-Ray drive problem (see the comments on this Reddit thread).  Seriously.  But we didn't test it ourselves as our units were delivered in perfect condition.  So, unfortunately, you are on your own and obviously, you can't hold us responsible it you do more damage to your X1.

Apparently, the problem is related to one or more gears that are misaligned.  Yup.  So next-gen, right? ...

Good luck!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

EB Games Trade-Up Program

This is not new information, but perhaps more Canadian gamers need to know about this promotion at EB Games: until December 31st, bring your current-gen title in store and trade it up for the next-gen version for only 9.99$.

This promotion applies to the following titles:
  • Assassin's Creed IV : Black Flag
  • Battlefield 4
  • Call Of Duty: Ghosts
  • FIFA 14
  • Madden 25
Most location will apply this promotion even without a proof of purchase, but some unlucky gamers reported that they had trouble because they did not have the original receipt.  Better call your local EB Games for more details.

As a side note, Best Buy and Future Shop used to mention a similar promotion. But after investigating the case by ourselves, 2 different stores refused to acknowledge it's existence.  Another Future Shop told us that they were only trading-up "Call Of Duty: Ghosts"...  even after we showed them those two pages on the Futureshop.com website: Madden 25, FIFA 14.  Apparently, because these pages cannot be reached through any link on the actual website, they are considered outdated.  Bummer.

YouTube App For Xbox One Confirmed

Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) confirmed yesterday via Twitter that the Xbox One will finally have a YouTube app at launch.

This feature, somewhat not very exciting at first glance, puts the Xbox One ahead of it's main competitor, the PS4 (at least in the "apps" department).  The Sony Playstation 4 does not offer a YouTube app, despite the Japanese console being available since last week.  Also, it's worth noting that the PS4 web-browser does not allows watching videos on the YouTube website.

Basically, the YouTube app should allow Xbox One users to watch YouTube videos in full screen mode, and 1080p videos can be streamed without losing any quality.

The YouTube app has come a long way on the Xbox 360.  It's debut was riddled with bugs and an horrible UI, but after many updates in the last year or so, it became a very convenient way to watch YouTube videos  on the living room's TV.  Let's just hope that the Xbox One app will not be a set back.

Friday, November 15, 2013

"Games With Gold" Coming To Xbox One in 2014

Yesterday Larry Hryb (aka "Major Nelson") confirmed via Twitter that the popular "Games With Gold" program will be coming next year on the Xbox One.

"Games With Gold" is offering two free Xbox 360 games per month to Xbox Live Gold subscribers.  In the last few months, gamers had a chance to get their hands on "Halo 3", "A World of Keflings", "Dead Rising 2" and "Assasin's Creed II" among others.

Microsoft is clearly making this move to catch up with the current PSN+ offering, since Sony announced that their similar program (currently consisting of 12 free games at all time on the PS3) would also be ported to the PS4.

Source : Twitter.com

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Best Buy & Future Shop: Midnight Release And Opening Hours Information

As we are approaching the Launch Day, more information regarding midnight launches and early openings starts to pop around.  Today, both Best Buy and Future Shop have posted additional information on their websites.

All Canadian Best Buy stores will all open at 8AM on Friday, November 22nd 2013 and at least 35 unreserved consoles will be available at each location.  No midnight launch event seems to have been scheduled, but we highly recommend you contact your local Best Buy just to make sure.

All Future Shop stores will hold a midnight launch event to allow Xbox One enthusiasts to pick up their pre-ordered console, except for Quebec City and Sudbury.  20 unreserved consoles will be available at each location at that moment.

Then all Future Shop stores will open at 8AM on friday morning, with at least 15 unreserved X1 available per store.

All stores from both Best Buy and Future Shop will also be holding Xbox One giveaways for people that show up in line 15 minutes before midnight and/or 8AM openings.

Get ready people, Launch Day is upon us!  Plan your pre-order pickup wisely!

Source: Futureshop.ca and BestBuy.ca

Monday, November 11, 2013

Xbox One Digital Purchase - Download Sizes

In the last few days a small number of lucky gamers received their Xbox One consoles a little early.  A ton of information was published through YouTube and Twitter by these X1 enthusiasts (some consoles were even banned in the process), but in the end, we thought it would be really interesting for canadian gamers to know the download size of each games, especially if they plan to purchase digital copies of their games.

Download Size
* Xbox One – Day One Update *
Assasin’s Creed IV : Black Flag
Battlefield 4
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Dead Rising 3
Fighter Within
Forza Motorsport 5
Just Dance 2014
Killer Instinct
Madden NFL 25
NBA 2K14
NBA Live 14
Powerstar Golf
Ryse: Son of Rome
Skylanders: Swap Force
Zoo Tycoon
Zumba Fitness: World Party

Knowing that most canadian ISPs are imposing some sort of bandwidth cap on their customers (usually between 60GB to 100GB per month), any canadian gamer who was thinking of going all digital will have to check how much bandwidth there is left on their ISP account before queueing all (or any?) of these day-one releases...  otherwise, get ready to pay extras for going over your bandwidth limit (and end up paying more for your games).

Sources: NeoGAF, NowGamer.com, Joystiq.com

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Giant Xbox One in Montreal Was Just Unlocked

Picture credit @GeeksandCom

After Vancouver last week, it was Montreal's turn to host a new #XboxOneSource event.  The giant Xbox One was erected at the corner of De La Montagne / Ste-Catherine on Saturday morning.

Picture credit @XboxCanada
Once the pledge-meter was filled online on Sunday around 11h30 (EST), a 1-hour countdown was displayed at the location. As soon as the H-Hour was reached, a couple of exotic cars showed up with racing drivers on-board.  This time, the event was oriented toward the new Forza Motosport 5 title.

Picture credit @XboxCanada

Gamers of Montreal were then invited inside the huge console to give their best shot at Forza 5.  Some reported that a couple of consoles are also running the demo version of Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son Of Rome.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Xbox One Live Demo On "M.Net" Tonight

Tonight at 8 PM (EST), the popular TV show "M. Net" (on Musique Plus, the french sibling of Much Music) will be demoing the Xbox One.  If you speak french (or simply understand bits), you might want to check this out as the console will be demoed by a couple of really knowledgeable guys, critics and avid gamers.

M. Net is without any doubt the reference when it comes to gaming and technology in the province of Quebec.  The show have been airing since 1998 with Denis Talbot as the main host.

Source: http://www.musiqueplus.com/sur-le-fil/des-20h-la-xbox-one-dans-nos-studios-1.1247403

Xbox One Official All-In-One Demo Released

Finally, Microsoft released an official video demonstrating the Xbox One operating system on YouTube!  After months of speculations and rumors, here is the Xbox One demo we were all waiting dying for:

Source : YouTube

Here are some key points to highlight:
  • Switching profiles on Xbox One is a breeze with Kinect 2 : When multiple persons are sitting in front of the TV, the X1 will automatically sign in the main profile.  If another player wants to take control of the dashboard, he simply has to say "Xbox: Show My Stuff".  The dashboards will flip from a profile to another in less than 2 seconds.
  • Watching TV is non-obtrusive : While watching TV, you can receive game invites and Skype calls.  Thanks to the HDMI input that will be used to connect to cable receiver, the Xbox One controls the output and can overlay system notifications.
  • Skype is better than ever : By integrating Kinect 2 to it's console, Microsoft can deliver the best Skype experience we have ever seen.  Outgoing video will be streamed at 1080p (full HD) and when you are moving in front of the Kinect, it will keep track of your position by panning left or right (by software, not mechanical).
  • The DVR functionality for games looks sooooo easy : Integrated with the "Upload Studio" app, the game capture function built into Xbox One is going to make video editing and uploading a child's play.  Sharing exciting gaming moments and adding audio commentary has never been this easy.
  • Toggling between the X1 functions or apps is blazing fast : We all heard that switching from a game to anything else in the OS was going to be fast.  And it's actually lightning-fast.  Once the vocal command is received, in less than a second the switch is made: from a gaming session to TV, from TV to Internet Explorer, from IE to NetFlix, it just happens right-away.
  • The "One Guide" is a couch-potato's dream : Using the "One Guide" to change channels on TV and look at what's coming up next on different channels will make us all fat.  Ok, granted that grabbing your remote control to perform those task was never a physical exercise.  But with the vocal commands integrated into the "One Guide", no needs to move a single hand or arm muscle.  Unfortunately, it appears that the "One Guide" won't be available in Canada at launch, but rumor has it that Bell ExpressVu might be supported...
This might be the video that gamers from around the world were waiting for.  It finally confirms why the new Xbox console is named "Xbox One".  Because of all electronic devices in our living room, this one has the potential to be "THE ONE".  One device to rule them all...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Xbox One Headquarters Opens Today in Toronto!

Picture credit goes to @XboxCanada

Great news for TO's Xbox One enthusiasts! Today at 11 AM the so-called "Xbox One Headquarters" will open to the public and allow gamers to get their hands on some of the most anticipated games!  Here is an excerpt from the official press-release:
The two-floor, 5,000-square foot venue, located on Bloor Street, opens on Thursday, November 7 at 11:00 a.m. and will remain open until December 29, 2013. Fans visiting the first dedicated Xbox One storefront can try award-winning exclusive games, including Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct and Dead Rising 3. Consumers can also play Kinect Sports Rival Preseason for the first time in Canada. Additional titles will be available to try after launch.
Fans can also expect living room-style game-play and the chance to win great prizes.
The Xbox One HQ in Toronto is located on 11 Bloor St. West.

The opening hours are the following:

Mon - Thu:11 AM to 8 PM
Fri & Sat:11 AM to 11 PM
Sun:12 PM to 6 PM

Get in line, folks of Toronto!

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20131105-905533.html?dsk=y

Redeeming Codes on Xbox One: It's That Fast!

Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) posted a video on Vine to demonstrate how fast it is to redeem codes on the new Xbox One using the Kinect 2.0... and let us tell you, it's blazing fast!

How frustrating was it to enter your 20-something digits code, only to have it refused because you mistyped or inversed a couple digits...  So many precious minutes wasted that could have been used to play actual games!  This will be a thing of the past, thanks to Kinect 2.0 and QR codes!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Xbox Music on Xbox One Will Be Free For Gold --> UPDATE: No, It's Not.

Yesterday  on Twitter, Albert Penello confirmed that Xbox Live Gold subscribers will be able to play tunes from Xbox Music without subscribing to this service (therefore at no additional cost).  The only downside is that free users will receive "perdiodic ads" (rumor is that it's going to be 15 seconds audio ads for every 5 songs).

This is great news as the X1 snap-in feature will allow user to stream music from this service while playing games.  The selection is also quite impressive, sitting around 30 millions songs as of September 2013.

At the moment, Xbox 360 users can play 30 seconds of each tracks unless they pay for the Xbox Music subscription (10$ per month or 100$ for a 12 months subscription).

Source: https://twitter.com/albertpenello/status/397173518095224832

UPDATE: Well, seems like Mr. Penello was wrong on this one...  He retracted himself via Twitter:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

EB Games Midnight Launch Locations In Canada

Yesterday EB Games Canada released the list of locations that will be opened at midnight on November 22nd 2013.  If you pre-ordered your Xbox One at one of these locations, you will be among the first to get your hands on the new console!

The list can be found here.

Unfortunately, Quebec stores aren't listed at this time... but keep in mind the following notice on top of the page "This page is subject to change up to the Launch Event".

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Giant Xbox One In Vancouver Was Unlocked

Yesterday around 4 PM (PDT), the number of pledges to unlock the giant Xbox One was reached.  No, it did not open right away as the public gathering around were asked to come back in an hour (really, Microsoft?)...

But then, around 5 PM  (PDT), zombies started to show up along with the Dead Rising 3 characters.  After a brief scene of zombies being killed and whatnot, people were invited in 2 black tents: a makeup tent to get a zombie face paint (perfect timing for Halloween parties, right?) and a tent with a green screen to get pictures of yourself with DR3 weapons (the results were rather cool).

Inside the colossal Xbox One, there were consoles hooked on TVs that allowed the public to get their hands on Dead Rising 3.  Apparently, there was no giveaways on the site.

Now that this promo is over, the meter has been reset on the Xbox One Source website and it's still accepting your pledges in order to "unlock the next amazing experience".

*Picture credits goes to @XboxCanada