Microsoft has just revealed its Super Bowl 2019 commercial, and it showcases the inspirational stories of children who play Xbox games with help from their friends, family and the innovative Xbox Adaptive Controller. The face of this special controller has two large, domed buttons that can be mapped to any function using the Xbox Accessories app. It also sports a large d-pad, menu button, view button, and the Xbox home button found on the standard Xbox One controller. “The story illustrates Microsoft’s commitment to building accessible technology that levels the playing field and creates opportunity for all of us,” said the company. Read more to watch the Super Bowl spot.
Microsoft’s 1TB Xbox One X NBA 2K19 bundle is being offered for $100+ off, and you can pick one up for $398.99 shipped, today only, originally $499.99. This bundle includes the Xbox One X console, a wireless controller, the full-game download of NBA 2K19, a 1-month Xbox Game Pass trial, and a 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial. NBA 2K19 celebrates 20 years of redefining sports gaming: start your MyCAREER, make a name for yourself, play with the legends, and explore your open-world ‘Neighborhood.’ Product page. Read more for a video unboxing and additional information.
Microsoft has teamed up with MIT might to develop a model that uses artificial intelligence to catch virtual “blind spots”. Basically, the AI compares a human’s actions in a given situation to what it would have done, and modifies its behavior based on how closely it matches the response. Put simply, if a self-driving car doesn’t know how to pull over in an emergency situation, it could learn how to do so by simply observing a human driver moving to the side of the road. However, if the AI is wrong, a human driver can also step in to correct it. “The model helps autonomous systems better know what they don’t know. Many times, when these systems are deployed, their trained simulations don’t match the real-world setting [and] they could make mistakes, such as getting into accidents. The idea is to use humans to bridge that gap between simulation and the real world, in a safe way, so we can reduce some of those errors,” said first author Ramya Ramakrishnan from Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT. Read more for a video and additional information.
Microsoft has acknowledged that its Xbox Live service has unexpectedly gone down because of server issues and its support team has already taken quick action on Twitter to ensure that subscribers are up to date. It’s currently unknown what is causing tonight’s Xbox issues or how long they might last, but engineers are now working on the problems. You can apparently still log into Xbox Live despite multiplayer features being offline. Read more to see how Microsoft responded on Twitter and for additional information.
Xbox Live Gold users can now play the 2018 pixel art masterpiece that is “Celeste,” a platform game in which players control a girl named Madeline as she makes her way up a mountain while avoiding numerous deadly obstacles. Unlike traditional side-scrolling platformers, players can perform a mid-air dash in the eight cardinal and intercardinal directions. For those not as experienced, simply turn on the Assist Mode, where you can change some attributes – infinite air-dashes, invincibility, or slowing the game’s speed, etc. – about the game’s physics to make it less difficult. Read more for a video review of the game and additional information.
Yes, Microsoft has an artificial intelligence research lab, and the BBC gives us a rare look inside. AI refers to machines or computer systems that behave in a way simulating human intelligence, and a Microsoft project that makes use of this technology is “Seeing AI”, an app designed to help people with a visual impairment get information about their world through the camera of a smartphone. “Science fiction has made an indelible impression on what people understand artificial intelligence (AI) to be. There is much anxiety that AI will take jobs, and fear that intelligent robots may harm us and one day take over the world. This causes us at Microsoft great concern because if AI is to truly benefit society, we must gain the trust of the people whose lives it will transform,” said Chris Bishop, Lab Director of Microsoft Research Cambridge and Microsoft Technical Fellow. Read more for the video tour.
Limbitless Solutions and Microsoft’s 343 Industries have teamed up to create 3D-printed, Halo-themed prosthetic arms for children, and they’re not just for looks, but rather fully functional, complete with hands capable of gripping objects through EMG sensors. They plan on donating these free of charge to recipients. In 2019, Limbitless will expand its prosthetic arm line for children, which already includes an Iron Man arm, with two Halo-themed options – a Master Chief Mark VI gauntlet replica and a “multiplayer” version that can be customized. Read more for another video, additional pictures and information.
Microsoft’s 12-Month Xbox Game Pass gives you unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games on Xbox One for just $69.99 [digital code], this month only, normally $119.99. That’s right, you’ll be able to play highly-anticipated new games the same day they’re released, along with a wide variety of other games, whether it’s recent blockbusters, to critically-acclaimed indie titles. In other words, it allows you to download the full game to the console, and this was done to give players “continuous, full-fidelity gameplay without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues,” according to Head of Xbox Phil Spencer. Product page. Read more to see what it’s in the December 2018 update and for additional information.
The Xbox One S 1TB Minecraft Creators Bundle includes a wireless controller, the full game download of Minecraft, Minecraft Starter, and Creators Pack, 1,000 Minecoins, 14-day Xbox Live Gold and 1-month Xbox Game Pass trial, all for $199 shipped, Cyber Monday weekend only, originally $299.99. Players can enjoy great content from Minecraft community creators including Relics of the Privateers, Adventurer’s Dream, Wildlife Savanna, Winter Mini-Games Festival, and more, as well as 1,000 Minecoins to snag even more in-game content. Product page. Read more for a hands-on unboxing video and additional information.
Here’s another look at industrial designer Henrique Perticarati’s WinPhone 95, a not so smartphone that features a 90s Sony Mavica camera lens, a dedicated parallel port, VGA connector, high-speed ethernet, and support for all the programs you need, including Notepad, Briefcase, as well as Phone Dialer. Just in case things get a little too hectic on-screen, there’s also a built-in trackball to make your life easier. Read more for additional pictures and information.