Project Spark Beta Key Giveaway

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I will be giving away some Project Spark Beta Keys on our twitter feed, first come first serve. The keys are good for both Xbox One and Windows 8.1. Here are instructions to redeem:

How to play Project Spark Beta on Xbox One
Go to http://www.projectspark.com and click Redeem Beta Key.
Click here to download Project Spark from the Xbox Marketplace.
Launch Project Spark on Xbox One.
How to play Project Spark Beta on Windows 8.1
Go to http://www.projectspark.com and click Redeem Beta Key.
Click here to download Project Spark from the Windows Store.
Launch Project Spark.

Good Luck! Gamerawr Twitter Feed

Twitch broadcasting coming to Xbox One in time for Titanfall

Twitch broadcasting is coming March 11, and it’s promised to be “complete integration” on the Xbox One.

Broadcasting

  • Instantly live broadcast your games by simply speaking “Xbox, Broadcast”, or launch from within the Twitch app for Xbox One.
  • Position the webcam PIP in any corner of the screen to best fit your game.
  • Interact with broadcasters using the most lines of chat available on a console.
  • Your Xbox friends are notified when you go live.
  • Viewing and Chatting

  • View live gameplay from any Twitch source: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, PS4, etc.
  • Get notifications when your favorite gamers are broadcasting so you never miss a minute.
  • For Xbox One broadcasts, you can view the broadcaster’s Xbox Live profile and send them a party request and join their game.
  • See which Xbox Live friends are broadcasting and what they’re broadcasting.
  • Partake in the chat experience, including using your subscription-based emotes and chat badges.
  • Turbo subscribers get an ad-free experience.
  • Via Twitch Blog

    Diablo III Patch 2.0.1 going live today

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    IF you haven’t played D3 in a while, patch 2.0.1 might offer enough newness to rope your back in and prime you for Reaper of Souls next month. Alex Mayberry, lead producer of Diablo 3, just tweeted that the big update is going live today after the dreaded Tuesday maintenance. While the official patch notes aren’t up yet, you can eyeball the 2.0.1 PTR notes to get an idea of what to expect.

    The biggest change comes by the way of “Loot 2.0″, which is a complete overhaul of the loot system. With the Auction House slated to be shut down next month before the Expansion, adventurers are going to be more reliant on finding their own gear. Not only has itemization been reworked, but players can now find “smart drops” which should have stats tailored to their character. The overall quantity of drops will be reduced, but the number of drops you find that you can actually use will go up.

    Crafting should be a more useful gear path as well. Crafted items will also roll with stats useful to the character doing the crafting. As an added bonus, crafting mats have been reduced to only two tiers which should free up stash space and reduce the inventory juggle meta game.

    There are new monster affixes, the difficulty system has been completely reworked, and paragon levels are now shared across all levels. There is something for everyone here, and it should be a great primer to see if Reaper of Souls will be worth your while. I put in a few hundred hours when the game came out before going dormant. I’ve been on the fence about an expansion, but I see a lot of promise here. I will update with the full patch notes when the come available!

    Titanfall Bundle: Xbox One + Titanfall for $499

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    Microsoft just revealed the Xbox One Titanfall bundle, they are basically offering a digital download version of the game for FREE with the console. Bundling isn’t a new concept, but it’s exceptional to package a AAA title for free this early into the consoles release. It might leave early adopters with a sour taste in their mouth, but it should give Xbox the shot in the arm it needs to continue moving consoles. They are also throwing in a free month of XBL Gold for good measure.

    The bundle is already available for preorder on Amazon: Xbox One Console – Titanfall Bundle

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    Source: Microsoft via Reddit

    Albert Penello responds: More details on the Xbox One Headset Adapter

    adapter

    Our last article stirred up a good discussion on reddit, in which Microsoft’s own Albert Penello chimed in. Here is what we learned:

  • The headset adapter overrides the controller timeout, so so you won’t lose a beat while watching TV or Netflix with audio through the controller. [source]
  • The headset adapter supports separate audio streams for split screen mutliplayer. [source] This means each player will hear their own chat and game audio through their controller. Titles like COD Ghosts already support this feature on PS4.
  • Microsoft opted for “higher quality stereo” versus virtual surround. In Penello’s own words:

    For now, the adapter transmits only stereo audio. Keep in mind, when you’re dealing with only two speakers, and we chose higher quality stereo vs a virtual surround, since the advantage of surround isn’t obvious until you get into very high-end discreet speaker headphones. We are discussing some sort of virtual surround, but I think the high quality Stereo sound (the Bass on our headset is amazing), plus great chat, and the adapter for $80 is a pretty great product. [source]

  • When asked if Digital Sound Processing (i.e. for virtual surround) would be available later, he said yes, it’s possible. It is a software feature, not a limit of the hardware. [source]
  • Xbox One headsets… surround sound, adapters, fact & fiction

    The Xbox One Headset Adapter is finally shipping soon, and that means third party headsets are in tow. But what is this adapter nonsense, and why are all the manufactures using it instead of custom (optical audio) solutions? Read on to find out.

      Xbox One Headset Adapter

    With the previous generation, the game controller only carried chat audio, so game sound had to come from your stereo, tv, or console itself. The most popular third party solutions tapped into the consoles optical audio port, which output a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio stream. A sound processor took this 5.1 stream, and created a stereo simulated surround track that got piped to the headset, either over wires or wirelessly.

      Turtle Beach DD Processor
      Dolby Surround Sound Processor

    These products were dubbed Surround Sound, and were adorn with the official Dolby Digital logo. After all, the sound processor did have to be Dolby Digital capable, certified, and licensed. But the headsets themselves had two speakers, a left and right channel, one in each ear cup.

    Note that there are some TRUE Surround Sound headsets, which contain 4+ speakers in each ear cup. While this creates the best sound separation, sound quality is sacrificed. The tiny speakers pales in comparison to the 50mm+ drivers in stereo headsets. Trust me… all the “surround sound” headsets you know and love are in fact stereo headsets.

      truesurround
      Here is a true 5.1 headset (CM Storm Sirus)… note the tiny, crappy speakers. Just no.

    Enter the Xbox One. Thanks to the wireless tech used in the controller, it has enough bandwidth to transmit both chat AND game sound. This removes the need for clunky sound processors that plug into the back of the console. Instead, the console itself takes the games multi-channel audio mix, and sends an ideal stereo mix to the controller, through the headset adapter, and up to your headset.

    Thanks to the Headset Adapter using a standard 3.5mm TRRS headset jack, absolutely any analog stereo headphone with a standard jack are compatible. The Xbox One headsets coming from third party manufactures are nothing but standard headsets bundled with Microsoft’s headset adapter.

      Polk 4Shot
      Polk 4Shot

    The best example of this is the Polk 4Shot for Xbox One, and the Polk Melee, its Xbox 360 counterpart. While the headsets themselves are identical, the Melee comes with a dedicated digital sound processor, and proprietary puck for the 360 controller. To accomplish the same exact feet, the Xbox One only requires the headset and the standard Xbox One Headset Adapter. There are less wires, less components, and most importantly: the Xbox One version is $40 cheaper because the functionality is baked into the console itself.

  • So is it Surround Sound, or not?
  • Yes and no, depends on the marketing department. Microsoft themselves is going the honest route, and dubbing their own headset bundled with the headset adapter the “Xbox One Stereo Headset”. Polk never mentions stereo in their marketing, but shys away from calling it surround sound. Turtle Beach, on the other hand, touts this XO Seven feature: “Be surrounded. Cinematic Surround Sound for your games and entertainment.” Note the XO Seven has stereo 50mm drivers, and uses the Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter.

      Xbox One Stereo Headset
      Xbox One Stereo Headset

    The reality is only the console itself bears the Dolby Digital logo, and it’s the console that is doing the sound processing this generation. The end result is the same. For the consumer it means cheaper headsets. There is less hardware, and less licensing costs for manufactures and those savings are getting passed on to the consumer.

      Turtle Beach XO Seven
      Turtle Beach XO Seven

    Halo Reach Beta Officially Online

    Gamers, get ready. It’s time to dust off your old ODST discs and jump into the Halo Reach Beta. Now if you’re anything like me, chances are that you haven’t touched ODST in months. Now, I really don’t know who this chick is, but she gives us a crash course on the latest in the beta.

    Keep in mind that the beta could take quite some time downloading so be patient and don’t hit “B” by accident and cancel your download like I did. Also, a bunch of people over at Joystiq were complaining earlier that their downloads weren’t working. As it turned out, rebooting the Xbox was the cure to this issue so keep that in mind when you come across any issues. Happy killing.

    Final Fantasy XIII Rant

    Now I’ll admit that my passion for RPGs has dwindled with age, but Final Fantast XIII is seriously lacking almost any redeeming qualities. FFXIII is another one of those games I wish I didn’t have to force myself to play in order to justify a wasted sixty dollars. The game is riddled with an inane
    fighting system, painfully stock characters, American laughable voice acting, never ending
    walks through repetitive grounds and a story line I couldn’t care less for.

    Plot: In nine out of ten games, I really don’t care about the plot. However, I feel as though RPG’s should maintain a certain standard of story telling that will keep the minds of its players remotely engaged. Unfortunately, FF XIII does no such thing. Everyone is off doing their own thing and rarely moving together in a group. It’s somewhat like an episode of Lost when they go off into each characters story. From what I’ve played thus far, the characters move in teams of two, the one kid’s mother dies, another character’s girlfriend gets turned into a crystal and the heroine seems to be mad at world. Very intriguing stuff indeed. Well, maybe the fighting system is good right?

    Fighting: Negatory. It’s not quite turn based, and it’s not quite an open system either (a la Tales Series). You basically punch in commands and wait for a fight meter to fill up before you can attack a selected enemy. Simply put, this is irritating. If you keep pressing “A,” you’ll more than likely win the battle without even looking at your screen. Although this quite handy when reaching for a beer, it does not provide solid gameplay.

    The fighting system does however incorporate a “paradigm” system that allows you to change your characters’ fighting styles mid-battle. This can be used to harness different powers (healing, offensive or defensive) depending on the battle’s current situation. If only one of your characters is getting pummeled, you can switch someone’s role to “medic” which will keep the victim afloat for the duration of the battle while others attack. In addition, you can also have all of your characters attacking all-out to overwhelm enemies quickly. The paradigm system is definitely a small beam of light in an otherwise redundant fighting system.

    Characters: Token black guy? check. “Damn, that is whack!” Rebellious anti-hero chick? Check. Little punk kid that complains about everything? Check. That annoying girl with the high-pitched voice that heals everyone? Check. Blond haired guy that’s too cool for school? CHECK! How about we try some innovative new characters for the next title in the series? Maybe I wouldn’t be complaining so much if the battle sequence had been a tad better. Case in point: Tales of Vesperia. Tales executed the same tried lineup of characters and yet I played the hell out of that game until the very end glued to the very edge of my seat.

    Linearity: Probably the most irritating thing about this game is that there is no open world feel to it at all. If there are any side missions, I sure as hell haven’t found them yet. The backgrounds are reminiscent of the original Halo and are also just as repetitive. Players will find themselves walking back and forth along the same paths multiple times. Good shit.

    I understand that I did not organize my thoughts at all for this rant, but it does seem to reflect the subject matter quite well wouldn’t you say? I’m about halfway through disc two and ready to throw in the towel on this one. If you haven’t tried FFXIII yet, you are not missing out on much. Don’t let the major critics fool you; this game is in no way, shape or form anything above a 7. This rating system, which is supposedly unbiased, should not take into account the previous success of a given title. Would you give Apple an 8.5/10 for their iPad? Hell no. Their track record, popularity and previous successes should not hinder a critic’s rating scale in the slightest bit. The iPad is a sack of shit and so is this game.

    6.8/10