It's been a big week for little news bites in the Microsoft Xbox world so I thought I'd take today to catch everyone up in case you missed any of them.
The Xbox One Digital TV Tuner that was announced back in August launched in parts of Europe (specifically in the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Italy) earlier this week. This is a device that brings over-the-air TV to the Xbox One (and allows you to pause/rewind it), and brings with it OneGuide support as well. Best of all it's cheap: £24.99 or €29.99. You can learn more at Xbox Wire.
Esports are all the rage these days. The Xbox One already had a Major League Gaming app; you can use that to sit back, put your feet up and watch a match. This week the Xbox team added an ESL Gaming app. This one lets you take part in tournaments. To quote Microsoft, "Sign up for a tournament through the ESL app on Xbox One to kickstart your pro gaming career." I wouldn't quit the day job just yet, though.
This week Microsoft launched a site it calls The Garage which is a way for it to expose some of the experimental projects its employees are working on. Most of the projects are for mobile or Windows, but one is an Xbox One game, Voice Commander. It's free to check out. More info on Major Nelson's blog. I downloaded it but haven't had the opportunity to play it yet.
If you're a programmer interested in working with Kinect on Windows and you already own an Xbox One, you'll soon be able to re-purpose the Kinect Sensor that came with your system. Doing so will require a $50 adapter, but that's better than spending $200 for a Kinect For Windows Sensor, I guess. More info on the Microsoft blog. Hacking together cool projects with Kinect seems to have gone out of fashion to some extent; maybe this will bring it back.
The Xbox One can easily capture video, but it can't capture static screenshots, which is a little bit weird. Microsoft's Phil Spencer told IGN a screenshot feature is coming, but not this year. Of course that sounds bad until you remember the end of the year is right around the corner.
As part of that same conversation Spencer said the December Xbox One update will be a modest one, adding "In December, it’s probably a time for us to pause for a little bit and settle just as all the new consoles are coming online." That sounds OK to me, particularly because November's update is adding a lot of cool features:
I'm oddly excited about custom backgrounds. In case video isn't your thing, you can read about the November update on Major Nelson's blog.
This last bit isn't about the Xbox gaming hardware but about the Xbox brand. If you're listening to Xbox Music on a Windows machine and you're not paying for it, here's some bad news for you. As of December 1st, 2014, free Xbox Music streaming is ending. (If you're a subscriber it sounds as though it'll be business as usual.) Microsoft has a short FAQ up about this decision in case you have questions.