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Xbox Live is to host a new interactive TV project called The Music Room as Microsoft looks to increase its presence in the broader entertainment space.
Described as a “new interactive two-part series”, The Music Room will be hosted by Laura Jackson and the first show will feature former Libertines co-frontman Carl Barat as its special guest. Everything Everything, Don Broco and Swim Deep will be performing on the show.
Xbox Live Gold members can watch the show from Wednesday May 29 at 20.30 BST and take part in “interactive polling” which will “determine the show’s finale in real-time.”
The Music Room is the latest sign that Microsoft is committed to widening its entertainment offering; the platform holder recently said that it is ‘dedicating all TV resources to Xbox’ and also opened Xbox Entertainment Studios in LA to produce “visionary original interactive content”. Expect to find out more about Microsoft’s broader vision at tomorrow’s next Xbox reveal event.
An elite band of games editors have already seen the biggest new game reveals of E3 2013. Last week, up to 40 members of the North American games press were invited to take part in Judges Week, four solid days of interviews and demos hosted by game publishers keen to showcase their forthcoming titles ahead of the busiest week in the games media’s calendar.
It is organised every year by Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley and Machinima’s Rob Smith, and takes place “in hotel rooms, conference rooms, and rental spaces around the Santa Monica area,” says one attendee, who wishes to remain anonymous. Attendees’ votes go on to form the Game Critics Awards.
Generally, the heads of each media outlet are invited, although editors can send staff members in their place. Reputable freelancers are also invited, and over the last few years some of the demos that take place throughout the week have been open to all press, though some have ‘judges only’ components. The event is paid for by larger game publishers – “I have no idea how much it costs to participate, but I doubt it’s cheap,” says our source.
“We’re not roughing it during the event, but neither is it glamorous,” he says. “It’s a very professional environment, and the demos are mostly utilitarian. It’s an exciting week, but if anybody’s thinking it’s a glamorous event, they’ve got the wrong idea. Most of the participants are seasoned journalists who are unmoved by amped-up environments and hype speeches, so most publishers don’t bother with that kind of thing.”
Metro Last Light is the biggest selling game at UK retail this week, snatching the number one spot from fellow Deep Silver title Dead Island: Riptide.
Second highest new entry Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity also makes its first appearance on the chart this week at number four, while Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead rises two places this week to number seven.
The UK’s top ten selling games for the week ending May 18 according to Ukie/ChartTrack is as follows, with reviews through the links and week-on-week sales differences in brackets where given.
1. Metro: Last Light
2. Dead Island Riptide (-25%)
3. FIFA 13 (+45%)
4. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity (-36%)
5. Call Of Duty: Black Ops II (-32%)
6. Tomb Raider (-11%)
7. The Walking Dead (+28%)
8. Injustice: Gods Among Us (-24%)
9. Assassin’s Creed III (-6%)
10. Bioshock Infinite (-8%)
[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, a Trion Worlds representative confirmed the cuts as part of a company reorganization. Development on Rift and the studio's other games is unaffected moving forward.
The representative also pointed out that the 80 percent layoff figure is "definitely exaggerated."
During Microsoft's next-generation reveal event next week, the company will show off a "smaller and denser" Xbox console, as well as redesigned controllers. That's according to sources speaking with The Verge, who described the new controller design as "flattened."
The "smaller and denser" Xbox console is reportedly the rumored third generation Xbox 360 console that will be "significantly less expensive" than current models. According to Windows blogger Paul Thurrott, this console is codenamed "Stingray."
Details regarding the form factor of the Xbox 720 have not been divulged.
Unlike the PlayStation 4's DualShock 4 controller, no images of Xbox 720 controllers have leaked of yet.
In addition, The Verge has heard from sources that Microsoft will release an Xbox 360 dashboard update this summer in preparation for the next-generation Xbox. Part of the update will be a refreshed user interface, complete with smaller Live Tiles, similar to those that will be found in the upcoming Windows 8.1 update.
Valve's free-to-play team-based shooter Team Fortress 2 has added its first community-made update. Called Robotic Boogaloo, the update adds 57 new items and is available to download today.
"When we first launched the Workshop back in 2011, we had no idea what the TF2 community was capable of," Valve said on the Team Fortress 2 blog. "As the hats, beards, boots, and hairdos started rolling in, we realized there was a huge well of creativity out there. But we didn't appreciate just how deep those waters ran until the community-made updates started appearing."
Valve points out that the Robotic Boogaloo update is 100 percent community-made, including the in-game content, the update hub website, the animated short, the comic, and the splash images in the Steam store.
"Plus, in a first for the Team Fortress economy, all the creators of the Robotic Boogaloo Update have decided to share the revenue earned from the sale of RoboCrate Keys," Valve said. "That means that everyone involved will be profiting from this update, not just the people making hats."
For more on the Robotic Boogaloo update, check out its official website.