If you come across any racial and gay slur and just about anything that sounds like hate speech on Xbox Live, you can directly report the incident to Microsoft. The tech titan has launched a dedicated website where you can report hate speech not just on Live, but also on Docs.com, OneDrive, Outlook, Skype and Sway. This new website is similar to the portal the company built to report terrorist posts, except this one focuses on content “that advocates violence or promotes hatred” based on age, disability, gender, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation or gender identity.
Microsoft signed up for the European Commission’s campaign against online harassment, along with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The website accepts reports from anyone across the globe, though, not just people living in the EU. In the company’s announcement post, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Office Jacqueline Beauchere explained:
“We will continue our “notice-and-takedown” approach for removing prohibited content on hosted consumer services, and the new form aims to improve the quality and speed of our reviews. When hate speech is reported to us, we will evaluate each complaint, consider context and other factors, and determine appropriate action with respect to the content and the user’s account.”
However, since the portal can be abused, and Microsoft could delete legit, polite posts that aren’t really hurtful, the company also built another website where you can submit requests to reinstate disabled content.
To celebrate Women’s Equality Day, President Obama has announced a group of 29 major US employers who have signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge and promised to help close the gender pay gap. On the list are 10 top tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel and IBM.
According to the White House, the pledge includes five key points:
- Acknowledging the critical role businesses must play in reducing the national pay gap.
- Committing to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations.
- Reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers.
- Embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives.
- Pledging to take these steps as well as identify and promote other best practices that will close the national wage gap to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.
While Facebook and Microsoft confirmed earlier this year that they have no gender pay gap, the acknowledgement from Obama is sure to add a little credibility to those claims. Rounding out the rest of the tech-focused businesses who signed on today are: Akami Technologies, Dropbox, LinkedIn, MailChimp and MuleSoft. One company is conspicuously absent, however: Earlier this year, Amazon claimed it pays men and women equally, but only revealed its salary figures when the SEC came knocking.
Source: The White House
Remember that Halo game you heard about that wasn’t launching in North America? Well, now it’s not launching anywhere. Halo Online was originally intended to be a free, multiplayer game designed exclusively for the Russian market. Despite launching a closed beta in its target market, the project’s staff has announced that Halo Online is no more. The game has been cancelled.
According to the Halo Online page on VK, Russia’s largest social network, the future of the game was in question for the last six months — with both the team and fans waiting on Microsoft for an announcement. The post says that Microsoft failed to make a decision during the past six months, but said it knows now that “the current form of the game will not be released.” Players have until the end of the month to use any in-game currency they might still have.
The game’s social pages are also being shut down, with staff stating that it doesn’t want to give the community false hope for a revival. “This decision was not easy for us,” the staff wrote on VK. “But we understand that there is nothing worse than uncertainty.”
Source: Halo Online
If you have been patiently waiting to try CBS All Access on your Xbox One, there’s good news. CBS has announced that its streaming service is now available on Microsoft’s console. It’s perfect timing for Xbox fans, as the anticipated January, 2017 premier of the All Access-exclusive Star Trek series is only months away.
CBS All Access is similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime in that it offers thousands of on-demand episodes from the network’s old and new shows, including The Good Wife, for $5.99 per month. So far, the company’s heavy focus on All Access is paying off as it announced last month that its streaming service has one million subscribers. Xbox One’s large consumer base will surely further add to that number. But, the only people that are still missing out on CBS’ on-demand online content are PlayStation 4 fans, and hopefully that gets rectified soon.
It won’t take much longer before you can get a taste of Halo 5 on your PC. Microsoft and 343 Industries have revealed that Halo 5: Forge, the multiplayer level creation experience, will reach Windows 10 on September 8th. As mentioned earlier, it’s all about playing multiplayer matches on custom maps created either on the PC or the Xbox One. You won’t get either the single-player campaign (possibly a good thing) or the stock maps from the console release. You do get the perks of playing on more flexible hardware, though, such as support for 4K displays and a interface that takes advantage of finer-grained mouse and keyboard controls.
At the same time, Xbox One owners are getting a Halo 5: Guardians update (Anvil’s Legacy) that brings them in sync with the Windows release. You can play Forge maps from Windows creators, and you’ll get both two new maps (one for the Arena mode, one for Warzone) as well as new weapons, attachments and skins. No, it’s not the same as getting the exact same game on both platforms, but it’s clear between this, Forza and Gears of War that the days of Xbox-only flagship games are over.
Source: Xbox Wire
Gamescom is over. The publishers have packed away their booths, and the lingering smell of sweaty, Kölsch-fueled gamers (and sweaty, coffee-fueled journalists) has finally started to dissipate. In the closing hours of our trip to Cologne, Germany, the “team” (Nick Summers and I) sat down to chat about our time at the video game show.
Talking points include the lack of press conferences this year; the myriad ways I made a fool of myself in VR; Outreach’s fresh take on space exploration; Sea of Thieves actually looking pretty good; Metal Gear Survive really not looking good and Titanfall 2’s new focus on plot. That’s a wrap on our Gamescom coverage this year — if you missed any of our stories, you can find them all here.
“Ideally we want the game to be in as many places as we can get it, but since we are a small developer and it’s a complicated game, we can only do so much at once.” That’s The Witness developer Jonathan Blow describing to us his desire for the indie puzzler to be available on more than just PlayStation 4. All the way back in February 2013. Now those dreams are coming to fruition as The Witness will make its way to Xbox One on September 13th — two and a half years after that interview with my coworker Jessica Conditt and six months after its debut on PS4 and PC. In a post on Xbox Wire, Blow lays out what new players should do when they get their hands on it.
Basically, if you get stuck on a puzzle, don’t look up solutions on YouTube or from a text-based walk through. Instead, explore another part of the island and you might find the solution while you’re at it. If you’ve avoided the game’s spoilers since January, it shouldn’t be too hard to resist the urge for a few more weeks, should it?
Source: Xbox Wire
Back before Call of Duty went full-on Michael Bay, the series focused on historical conflicts ignored by the then unstoppable Medal of Honor series. Xbox 360 launch title Call of Duty 2 was the last game in the series from original developer Infinity Ward to do such. And now, you have the chance to play through the Battle of Pointe du Hoc once again. How’s that? The objective-based WWII shooter is now backward compatible on Xbox One. If nothing else, it’s an interesting glimpse both at how much the franchise has changed and how FPS themselves have evolved over the past 11 years. Because, even in 2005, CoD 2 was considered a bit old-school in terms of design.
The best part is that it’s free — assuming you still have the original disc, of course. Everyone else can cough up $20 for it via the Xbox Game Store. Now’s a good of time as any to try finishing your run through the campaign on “veteran” difficulty, no? I can’t think of a better way to prep for Modern Warfare Remastered, myself.
Source: Xbox Game Store
Microsoft announced in April that it would make the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit for Office 2016 for Mac. Well, the time has come. The update is rolling out to those who are running Microsoft’s productivity suite on OS X. Apple’s desktop operating system has been 64-bit for a while now, but Windows still allows users to to choose between 32- and 64-bit versions. With this latest update, Office 2016 for Mac is making the permanent switch to 64-bit support which Microsoft says will boost performance and allow for new features.
This new update makes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote 64-bit for anyone running Retail, Office 365 Consumer, Office 365 Commercial, and Volume License installations of the software. What’s more, the August release (version 15.25) will arrive just like any other update to the apps. You’ll receive a notification on your desktop about the new version just like you do for other releases. If you don’t see that message, you download the 64-bit update manually from the source link below. As 9to5Mac notes, this new version has been available to Office Insider beta testers, but this is the first time 64-bit software has been available to all users.
Microsoft does warn Office for Mac users that the switch to 64-bit software could affect third-party add-ins for the apps. Those companies have had a few months to make the necessary changes, but if you rely on any of those extras, you may want to double check before installing. If you’ve yet to make the leap, Office 365 for Mac costs $70 per year or you can make a one-time purchase of Office 2016 for Mac that’s priced at $150.
Microsoft has revealed more details about its HoloLens headset at the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino. The augmented reality (AR) device marries video games with the real world, so it needs to calculate your location, head position and gestures extremely rapidly. We now know more about the so-called holographic processing unit (HPU) that does that — the 24-core chip has near-supercomputer levels of performance, performing a trillion operations per second.
The 28-nanometer process “Tensilica” chip, built by TSMC, has 65 million logic gates, 8MB of ultra-fast static RAM (SRAM) and 1GB of DDR3 RAM, all crammed into a 12mm x 12mm (half-inch square) package. It’s designed to process input from the inertial chip, environment cameras, depth camera and other sensors. By speeding up calculations 200 times over software alone, it provides ready-to-use position data to the headset’s main Intel “Cherry Trail” CPU, freeing it to run apps and games.
If you live in the US or Canada and have $3,000 between your couch cushions, you can actually buy a HoloLens developer model. If not, we tested it recently and found it fun, immersive and not nearly as disorienting (or nausea-inducing) as a VR headset. It’s very hard to say how much the final product will cost, considering that it has a highly custom chip on board. We’ll likely have to wait a while to find out, though, as there’s no indication yet on when the retail version will arrive.
Source: The Register