Program Manager Microsoft Store on Xbox
Larry: Hi, it's Larry Hryb, Xbox Live's Major Nelson. Welcome to the show. We're back with you and joining me and let me bring them in through the power of the technology.
Jeff: The worst that I felt coursing through the internet tunes [crosstalk 00:00:14].
Larry: Well, because it's a little warm here in Seattle, that was a rush of cool air that I blew your way.
Jeff: I could use that. The land of air conditioning forgot. I didn't forget it.
Larry: I didn't. I said, we didn't forget it up here. We're [inaudible 00:00:28] got it. Welcome to the show.
Jeff: Thank you. I'm glad to be here. We did do a show last week. It was [crosstalk 00:00:34].
Larry: Yeah, we're doing things a little different this week. Normally, we post on Fridays so we're posting this on Monday because well, we needed the weekend.
Jeff: So relaxed.
Larry: And number two, we have this great interview coming up to talk about what was released earlier. A blog post went up, I would say about the brand new Xbox Store Experience coming to preview members and I'll have an interview with Cody Bird, who's a PM on that team. You and I have been using the store for quite some time and we love it.
Jeff: Speaking of a rush, this thing moves fast. It blows your hair back. It's very snappy. Snappy is the way I would call it. I'm going to Keep the theme going, Larry. I can't wait to until you all see it and I'm looking forward to hearing from Cody.
Larry: By the way, there are people looking at you and I feel like I have a new lower third for you if I may.
Jeff: That speed. That's cute.
Larry: I just did.
Jeff: That's how I identify.
Larry: Touched up the animation and brought it in.
Jeff: I like that.
Larry: Trying to move the show a little forward.
Jeff: You get to put on your resume Piron operator.
Larry: Yeah, exactly. That I [inaudible 00:01:45].
Jeff: As someone who's done that, it's a challenging and fun job. I enjoy the creativity.
Larry: Especially live.
Jeff: It still haven't fixed the space though. It looks like [email protected].
Larry: That's my next thing to fix. So I'm going to go ahead and take care of that and fix that next. So there we go. In the meantime-
Jeff: You get to have the animation zan. This is the ultimate PowerPoint deck. I love it.
Larry: ... Well, as you and I have a tremendous history in television and now we're sitting at home with our own television studios, why not? The only thing that, and I think I mentioned this in one of our very early shows though, the biggest disappointment I have in this software, it's called vMix, it's great software. It doesn't have a star wipe.
Jeff: We need to get you a Grass Valley switcher with the handle that pulls back.
Larry: I do have a handle. There's a [inaudible 00:02:34] handle on the screen here.
Jeff: It's not the same.
Larry: And I can go like this and go right back to see and go back and forth.
Jeff: You give that manual poll.
Larry: See, I can do this. See?
Jeff: Look at this. You're right. You're fired. But it's like the Star Wars, you're launching in a hyperspace in the Millennium Falcon, that's what that switcher feels like and you wouldn't want that.
Larry: Actually, you say that, and here's a funny little tidbit, if you look at Star Wars: A New Hope, there is a-
Jeff: I've done it several times.
Larry: ... I don't know if it's a Grass Valley switcher, but I believe when they're about to blow up Othoron, there's a closeup of all the buttons and they push the T-bar forward and that is a TV switcher. I'll have to go find that because it's what it is.
Jeff: Okay. I mean, Grass Valley, it was the height of '80's technology, I guess that was the '70's. I'm going to look at that. I'll get to see what it was. See if I can identify it.
Larry: Anyway, here we are. We're back.
Jeff: [inaudible 00:03:29].
Larry: We're talking about what we're playing. We're going to talk about a bunch of different things. Then later on, we're going to do a demo of the brand new Xbox Store. Cody is going to sit down and I'm going to drive and we're going to go through it. We're really excited about that. It's going to inside Xbox Insider soon, in a couple of days. It may be there already, depending upon when you're listening to this, but we'll talk about that. So let's jump right in.
Jeff: Don't get pulled over in your test drive. That thing, it goes faster than the speed limit.
Larry: It is fun. So here we are. [Sai 00:03:59], you want to talk about what you're playing because it looks like you've got... Do you have Grounded up in the background there?
Sai: Sure. I do. Damn wrong hand. Over there. Yeah. That's Grounded. Grounded came out this week from our good friends at obsidian down in Orange County, California. This is a game that's in Xbox Game Preview. That means this is really just a taste of what the final version of the game is going to have to offer. But I will say, that taste is pretty damn tasty. I mean, there's a lot here to play with and the mechanics are super solid. I played all manner of [crosstalk 00:04:33].
Larry: It's preview right now, it's not even final release.
Sai: Exactly. That's what's so impressive. It feels really polished. You're going to find some glitches here and there. The story as it were ends just as you're getting going because they will add more over time.
Larry: I believe we call that [inaudible 00:04:49] in the business.
Sai: Yes. But in terms of the core mechanics and the world building, this feels really good and the intersection of the different insects and they're doing their own thing and you can get in there and you can mix it up, but sometimes it's best to just let nature be nature. I think that we could all learn a lesson from that. Let's probably [crosstalk 00:05:11].
Larry: I know what's interesting is, and I guess, Jeff, you and I can talk about this now because we've been on the inside and watching the development of the game from, from a little bit far, but this is actually one of the very last public events I did before everybody went into COVID shutdown at PAX East-
Jeff: PAX East.
Larry: ... [inaudible 00:05:26] this year. I hosted a panel with some of the folks were talking about it and one of the big areas of concern was people that are afraid of spiders. Right?
Jeff: Absolutely. I will say I live with my daughter. She's a huge fear of spiders to the point where if there's a spider outside, I'm instructed to go kill it and then I don't really kill it. Spiders are supposed to be outside. In the house,
Larry: You re-home it?
Jeff: ... all rules are off. I just move it away from the door. We have a spider stick.
Larry: Spider stick?
Jeff: There's a lot of spiders in Seattle.
Larry: Is that something you buy on Amazon?
Jeff: ... It's just a little bamboo stick. I'll clean out the cobwebs and this spider will usually land on it and I'll just drag it into the hedge or something like that.
Larry: I see.
Jeff: I don't want them laying eggs right near the door and then one day I open the door when the eggs are hatched. I don't know if you've ever seen that. It's raining spiders.
Larry: I told you that story, right?
Jeff: Hey, I love how we're talking about arachnephobia mode. Let's talk about spiders. Let's talk about our grossest spider. I would actually love to hear it.
Larry: I think I told this story. When my wife and I were first dating, actually, I think we've just gotten married, we're in Connecticut. We had our first place together and she got a Christmas tree, a brand new. I mean, went to the tree farm, cut it down, put it in the house and I was at work and she was decorating it. She was underneath trying to get it into the Christmas tree base. She's under there. As she's under there tightening it up and straightening it out and putting the lights up, she felt the water coming down all over her face and then she couldn't figure it wasn't. She goes like this because she brought it from the outside. In there were spiders that started to hatch when they hit the warm room and there were hundreds of baby spiders coming down over her face.
Jeff: That is nightmare material. Oh my God.
Larry: To this day, we do not have a live tree anymore. We have an artificial tree because of that reason. She's like, "No, we're done."
Jeff: She's someone who should take advantage of arachnophobia mode.
Jeff: What this is, is it's actually at the very beginning, when you launch the game, it goes right into accessibility. You can do it from the get and you can essentially slide, do you want it to look like a spider? And it does look [inaudible 00:07:43] and they're huge. They're much bigger than you are. Do not pick a fight with them unless you are well equipped. At the very beginning of the game, you are not well equipped. You're not going to kill it with a [inaudible 00:07:51].
Larry: Let's be clear. You're about this big. So your spider stick in this case would not work.
Jeff: [crosstalk 00:07:58].
Larry: No spider stick here.
Jeff: My spider stick would be the size of a skyscraper in this world. So you can slide it and with each notch along the pathway on the slider, it looks less and less like a spider. At the end, it's basically two cute little orbs. Here's the thing though, it's still just as deadly in the game. It just doesn't look like a spider. So my daughter who slid that thing all the way to the right, she was like, "Oh, what's that little thing?" And then it killed her. We actually had to dial it back and make it a little bit more spider-
Larry: So she couldn't tell what it was.
Jeff: ... Because spiders look that way for a reason to scare the hell out of users. Stay away. We have an innate fear of spiders more than I think... It's in our DNA. I think she beat it. She had made it look so cute that she lost her fear of it and that's where things go wrong.
Larry: Always respect the spider.
Jeff: Yes. Exactly. Anyway, it's a really fun game.
Larry: Yeah. Check it out. If you're an Xbox Game Pass member, you can check it out right now. It's in Game Preview, but you can check it out right now and go through. The tip that Jeff gave me because I was having a problem with this though, can we give a little bit of the tip? Why don't you give the tip that you gave me about the water.
Jeff: What was it?
Larry: The water.
Jeff: I don't remember. Oh yeah. Exactly. So you are monitoring your hunger and your thirst and if you've run for too long, you will get really thirsty as tends to happen. We were trying to figure out how do you treat those puddles on the ground and they'll even say like, "Do I want to drink this?" If you're desperate sure, but it will end up hurting you and you will lose hunger. But if you look up into the grass that is bent over way above your head, sometimes you'll see a drop of water there.
Jeff: If you crack that with your ax... Dew. It's called dew, but it's huge in this game. You'll hit it. You hit it one time, you'll hear it drop and then it'll slide down the hill or whatever is you have to chase that water. Drinking the dew water is clean and is the best way to sate your thirst. Later on, [crosstalk 00:10:03].
Larry: This game brought to you by Mountain Dew.
Jeff: Exactly. It's inevitable. Right. We should be serious. This is probably not. You can build a device that actually attracts dew. You don't have to wander out looking like this, next thing you've wandered into a spider [crosstalk 00:10:20].
Larry: Is it like a divining stick, old school?
Jeff: I think it's some manner of thing that attracts the dews. The dew forms there repeatedly-
Larry: I see.
Jeff: ... As opposed to like having to go out and look for it.
Larry: Would you call it a web?
Jeff: It's a lattice. How about that?
Larry: Okay. All right. Lattice.
Jeff: Good word?
Larry: Good word.
Jeff: Even after you finish the objectives in the game and it takes you down into a place and you meet a character and that's when it ends just as it's heating up, you could still continue to play. You can build up your base. There's base-building mechanics. I really like how they do it. When you're going to build most, you say, I want to have a wall here. I want to have a wall here. I want to put a door here and it ghosts out. You see it, but it's not really there until you bring those equipment. When you bring, you cut down blades of grass.
Larry: [crosstalk 00:11:11]-
Larry: ... In movie making, pre visualizing how you want it to be.
Jeff: Exactly. It's like AutoCAD assisted design.
Larry: Another classic call back.
Jeff: Then you plug in the ingredients when you have them and it becomes real. Corporeal if you will. So I really liked that because you don't have to have all the equipment to start building. You can get started and you plan out your dream home. It's almost like putting it on Pinterest or something and then you go out there-
Larry: It's your vision board.
Jeff: ... You make that scratch.
Larry: It's your minute vision board.
Jeff: It's your vision board. Exactly. Yeah. There's some really cool abilities. Also, you could build armor at it, really stacks up, you bring certain things in as you find them and you can get them analyzed in this area and then learn recipes that way. There's a lot of depth there. For stage one of Xbox Game Preview for Grounded to have this much is really exciting because I think it's just going to continue to develop. We'll let you know as new enhancements come in, as they add new content and it's going to be one to keep watching. I think this one's going to have a nice life to it.
Larry: Completely agree of. I've played it. You play. In fact, I posted on Twitter, how I succumb to the spiders.
Jeff: Don't mess with the spiders until you're ready. I saw one or two and I just ran in the other direction. I did not hesitate.
Larry: You talked about the look of the spiders. I think it's also the sound of them, right?
Jeff: Everything about them. On a cellular level, you are just repulsed. It actually doesn't bother me that much, but they are a frightening beast of nature and for them to be like the big birds so at least that you've seen thus far.
Larry: It must be clear, you're this big.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. So you know what, none of that. Another interesting thing that you'll start to see this week actually, you get made really tiny. We worked with a lot of content creators, influencers you might call them.
Larry: Tiny ones?
Jeff: They have cool and crazy PCs, but we challenged them to build the smallest PC that they could build that would run Grounded. So you're going to see those coming up. It's a challenge. I believe you'll be able to vote. We gave them a certain amount of money that they could do it. If you look over on Xbox Y, you can see who those folks are. Keep an eye. There's people from all over the globe. So we worked specifically with Austin Evans. He's the US representative. He's a very talented guy. You might know him as-
Larry: I know Austin.
Jeff: ... A person who... Well, you know him. I'm saying you, the viewer might remember he was somebody that actually, probably the only person you've seen that has held an Xbox Series X in their hands.
Larry: That's right, when we had him on campus earlier this year.
Jeff: He has been walking them on campus.
Jeff: Exactly. We challenged him and I will say he really knocked out of the park. It's really cool.
Larry: [Ccrosstalk 00:14:11].
Jeff: Him and his team were able to build. You have to see it. It's very intelligent, very creative.
Larry: Now, I want to tell you right now. If I haven't seen these yet, but if any of these creators do not build Uncle Milton's Ant Farm into this PC, I am going to be tremendously disappointed.
Jeff: What is that?
Larry: I want you to look it up right now. Look up Uncle Milton's Ant Farm. When I was growing up, it was the back of comic books. It was this [inaudible 00:14:39].
Sai: I see it.
Larry: Do you see it?
Sai: Yeah. Well, it's auto filling and [inaudible 00:14:49]. It's like Ant Farm. It's called the Uncle Milton.
Larry: Uncle Milton's Ant Farm. Right. It was like this [crosstalk 00:14:54].
Sai: I wanted one as a kid.
Larry: And you can see them, you can see where they dig and stuff. It was cool but it feels like that's what we should.
Sai: You can still buy them. In fact, unclemilton.com is still a thing. I always wanted one as a kid.
Larry: Is it optimized for [inaudible 00:15:09]?
Sai: My mom would not let me bring thugs. No, they apparently have a deal with Marvel. Uncle Milton's going strong. As long as they're ants, there will be Uncle Milton's Ant Farm.
Larry: I'm telling you.
Sai: In fact, it's the 60th anniversary Ant Farm. Did you have the V1?
Sai: Used? It was handed down to [crosstalk 00:15:32]-
Larry: I'm not amused but no.
Sai: ... Take the vape.
Larry: Not that old.
Sai: It actually won a National Product Awards. It's really cool.
Larry: The [inaudible 00:15:39]. Have you learned something today, Jeffrey? I feel good that I have introduced you Uncle Milton.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, I had heard of an ant farm. I'd seen an ant farm. I just didn't know about a [inaudible 00:15:49].
Larry: Urban legend was it.
Jeff: How did they get the ants to you? Or do you just give them up?
Larry: That don't know. I don't know if the same thing as sea monkeys. You just don't water.
Jeff: Yeah. I don't know because it's like, if you do this in Florida, you pick up a fire ant, you don't want none of that. [crosstalk 00:16:04]. I still have a scar-
Larry: You don't.
Jeff: ... Somewhere on my hand from 1992. Right up there.
Larry: My mother would see me down there and [inaudible 00:16:11]-
Jeff: It was on this finger. Not good
Larry: They're not good.
Larry: Anyway. Ants.
Jeff: Ants, the real spiders.
Larry: But they put fire ants in that game.
Jeff: No, thank you. Hey, you know what eats bugs?
Larry: What eats bugs?
Jeff: Toads, Larry. And guess what, we had a great announcement. What a segue. Battletoads is incoming. Comes out August 20th. This is not even three weeks away from now. So Battletoads, this looks like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life and so very much looking forward to it. You might've played. Way back in the day, the original rare Battletoads is like on any ass.
Larry: V1, Jeffrey?
Jeff: V1, it was known for being just so difficult. One of the most challenging difficult games of our time.
Larry: It's legendary.
Jeff: It was a Quarter Martial Arcade game, but placed on a home console. Anyway, it's amazing how far it's come. It's coming August 20th. This can be part of Xbox Game Pass. I think you're going to see people like us struggling. You're got to see people speed running it, beating the game quickly.
Larry: I think you can pre download it now if you are a Game Pass member, right?
Jeff: Well, I'll have to take a look. I know it's coming down. It is coming to Game pass on both Xbox One and PC. It's coming to steam as well. So very excited about that. Pre installation on PC will be available soon. Some of the time you hear this as possible. Jump onto your console or jump onto the Xbox app on your PC and go ahead and click and see if it downloads. It should be a fun way to play. We should play in co-op, Larry. You have to play in co-op.
Larry: I'm with you. I'm totally down to do that.
Jeff: Do you want to be Rash, Zits or Pimple?
Larry: I think Rash.
Jeff: Rash is the one with the sunglasses. I think everyone wants to be Rash. I'll be Zits or Pimple. I'll figure out.
Larry: [inaudible 00:18:05], what's left or right.
Jeff: Because it's this floral, but the animation style looks really cool. I love Beat 'em ups. Had a great amount of fun with Streets of Rage 4 earlier this year. So this will be it be really fun. Apparently, it's going to be funny. It's going to really call back to '90's humor [crosstalk 00:18:22].
Larry: Comedy I say.
Jeff: All right.
Larry: [crosstalk 00:18:25] that's '90s.
Jeff: It is very bright. It is very colorful. It's going to be a different type of game. I'm looking forward to it.
Larry: Alright. You want to know what I'm playing? We talked about a little bit about-
Jeff: I would love to know what you're playing. You said you're playing something fun.
Larry: I am playing Swim Out, which you can see behind me. You can see it's my most recent I got. I've got Apex Legends here, Destroy All Humans!, Grounded, but Swim Out, I think it's in Game Pass too. But this is a fun puzzle game where you have to basically swim around through this pool. You're the blue-capped swimmer.
Jeff: Oh, okay. I see. It's a top down view. I can see that.
Larry: Yeah. You have to go through here and get to, I don't know, I'm six or seven levels of it but I love the artistic style of this. I'm a huge fan of swimming pools. I don't have one yet, but I love the whole pool vibe and it's got puzzles. This game is right up my alley. So I'm really excited.
Jeff: Yeah. The far that you had there on your desktop, I see there on the dashboard. It has that art deco, BioShock look to it.
Larry: Or more. It feels like you and I, we should be in Miami out on what's that road called?
Jeff: The Fontainebleau.
Jeff: A1A Beachfront Avenue.
Larry: A1A. Yeah. Beachfront Avenue. [inaudible 00:19:44]. I worked through it.
Jeff: I don't know if the beaches are open right now. I think they closed beaches.
Larry: Anyways, so Swim Out, you can't [inaudible 00:19:52].
Jeff: You know what, here's the secret. You don't go there in the summer. It's too hot. It's 94 degrees outside with a 100% humidity. Last thing you want to do is be under the sun. Any sun damage I have to my face is from doing that when I was in high school.
Larry: That explains why you are enjoying the North West.
Jeff: I have had more than enough vitamin D to last several lifetimes. I want to be as pale and pasty as possible now. Sitting by the window as an elderly person.
Larry: So far so good.
Jeff: I don't. Look at this. I would say, it's the lighting, but I'm at risk of blending in with the wall behind me, which isn't great.
Larry: I've had a heck of a week. Last week I was on a bunch of different podcasts. I was on all those the-
Jeff: It was essentially Major Nelson Week on kind of funny, which was really cool to see.
Larry: Yeah, it was a lot of fun to talk to Greg and the gang and the ex cast gang. So if you could go check those, it kind of funny. I had a real good conversation with them. I just really enjoy those guys.
Jeff: That's awesome. Yeah. A big fan of Greg for a long time. I think it is a little humbling when Greg asked me if you would like to be on, we have cool friends and I'm like, "Yeah, I think he'd love it."
Larry: I believe you did come up a couple of times during the show. So I don't remember exactly what [inaudible 00:21:10].
Jeff: All right. I'll take it. Did he mention Zombie Blog Knack-
Larry: Yes, [inaudible 00:21:14].
Jeff: ... And my wife making the minis? I've been over carrying jokes since that MS Podcast Beyond job over 10 years ago. Occasionally, I would still reply to something and say, "Well, go Zombie Blog Knack. Is your wife still making the minis?" She moved on. We should all move on.
Larry: Speaking of moving on, what we should do now is we can go over our 20 minutes. We should stop right now and we should bring in Cody Bird in the interview that I did a couple of days ago. What you're going to see now is an interview with Cody. He is one of the project program managers for the new Xbox Store that's coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
Jeff: It's fast.
Larry: It's F-A-S-T. It's fast. It's flexible. It's secure, well, not secure, but it's fun. Well, security, there's some new kids stuff in there that we're going to talk about. So why don't we stop right now, take a look at that and then we'll come back on the other side. How's that sound, Jeff?
Jeff: Let's see that beautiful story.
Larry: A brand new Microsoft Store experience is coming to Xbox Insiders. Joining me today is Cody Bird from the store team. Cody, good to see you, my friend, how are you?
Cody Bird: Larry, thanks for having me. I'm so glad to finally get a chance to share this with our faithful Xbox fans. This is a big day for us.
Larry: Well, it is my pleasure. I have to tell you. You and I have worked together for quite some time and one thing we've been working on the store team and you guys I've always come to you and say, "Hey, what can we do to make the store better?" And well, you guys have been working on that for quite some time and as I said just a moment ago, there's a blog post it's up, I'll put a link in the comments. Today, depending on when you're listening to it, but we've announced that there's a new store coming to Xbox Insiders. Just tell me a little bit about that. Then actually, we're going to do a demo. Cody, we're going to do a demo.
Cody Bird: Yeah. You bet. We're going to spend most of our time I think showing it off, which is exciting. Yeah, it's been a long work in progress. I think the store is a place where we know our Xbox fans spend a lot of time discovering their new content, finding the next best thing to play, finding the next new Game Pass game to play. We wanted to take this opportunity as we start getting into the Xbox Series X launch to do a real overhaul and rethink how we can make that experience the best it possibly can be. So yeah, we've got a really big update that we hope everyone's going to be excited about and excited to share.
Larry: Now, as we said, I'm going to say it multiple times because people think they're going to get this right away. This is on Insiders right now and then the plan is, is you're going to roll this out over the coming months and then eventually wide release later this year. Is that right?
Cody Bird: Yeah, that's totally right. We're going to start with Insiders and get hands on with the millions of folks that we have in those rings today. Get feedback, make sure that the changes we make are really resonating. From there, we're going to start rolling that out to the general public and we hope to have this and everybody's hands is full.
Larry: Well, nobody wants to see you and I, they want to see the new store. I'm going to cut right over this.
Cody Bird: [inaudible 00:24:12].
Larry: Well, we can hear you now. So here we are. This is my dashboard. This is a live demo, so anything can happen. I'm going to go right into the store. The first thing you're going to notice is the speed. You guys really worked on the speed here. Let's go through that and then we can go through the demo a little bit.
Cody Bird: Yeah, you bet. I think the thing we're proudest of with the new Microsoft Store on Xbox is just how fast it's been. So we did a complete re-architecture of the app and the React Native on Windows. As opposed to the previous framework, which while really versatile, had a lot of performance limitations, that this new re-architecture allows us to launch the store under two seconds, in some cases under one second. You can easily move between content, view things quickly and as you said, you can pop in and out. That cold start was under two seconds. If it's already in memory, it's almost instant.
Larry: Yeah. I want to talk about this because it's a complete redesign. You took a lot of what you learned from, for lack of a better term, the original Xbox Store and this is genius. This is the third version because we talked about this way, the one in the air Xbox 360, we have Xbox One and now we have this version, right?
Cody Bird: That is correct. Yeah. You're you're right. I hadn't really thought about it. We have every generation look at this. Yeah, this is a big change for us where a lot of what we're looking at is what we've learned from the work with guide and how customers are really enjoying being able to navigate through their content in a more natural way through the channels and content blocks and you see as you scroll down. It really naturally flows to the different pieces of content. We thought that bringing all of this up was going to make it easier for fans to find what's new, find what's happening in the store and also just get to the things they care about. Do they want to search? Do they want to look for deals? Do they want to look at the newest games? Doing more to bring that all up to the top and getting that into a single store entry point was important to us.
Larry: And you see, here we go, we've got Game Pass Ultimate, all the games are in here. You can see the details about that offer. But the thing that's great is, I mean, where do you want to start? Because there's so much to cover here because it's so new. I'm going to take your cue. Tell me where to go here, Cody.
Cody Bird: Yeah. Let's go ahead. Let's just actually jump into games at the very top level. Let's check that out.
Larry: Okay. So you just click here and there you go. This is games and again, this is a cold start. I loaded this. I haven't loaded this before, so this is right off the bars. What do we got?
Cody Bird: Exactly. Yeah. What you'll find here is a couple of things. One, if folks were familiar with the [inaudible 00:26:44] Xbox One with the twists where we had part of the store on an app and part of the store on the OS, we've consolidated everything together. So now when you're looking at the software of home, when you're looking at your games, we're making it really easy for you to find your deals, your subscriptions, things that are relevant to you based off your recent activity. It looks like maybe you've been playing some Apex Legends lately, Larry. [crosstalk 00:27:02].
Larry: That is true.
Cody Bird: So yeah, we're keeping an eye, trying to make it easier for people to find things. But one of the things we're most proud of actually, and this is a great showcase is we're bringing more details about the games up to the top. Instead of having to load into a PDP, if you pop in a game here, we start showing the trailer in line. We started giving more information about the game. We show more information about the sales and the deals. If there's a sale going on, not just what percentage off and your price, but when does that sale end. We use the word snackable a lot. We want to make it a lot easier to look and browse through the content and enjoy it, actually really enjoy going through and seeing the thousands of great games that are on the Xbox Store.
Larry: This is a great example. So we'll take this game right here. We see a little bit of it. You can see, as you said, it's a new release. It's for family and kids. It's the same strategy and the price. We can click in on this and instantly, this feels new. Why don't you explain to us. I guess this is a game detail page. Tell us what this is.
Cody Bird: Yeah, exactly. One of the things is that's we wanted to make it easier to browse through and snack on content in those other browse experience. It was really important to us as well, that when you dug in and really wanted to get into the details of a game that, that was really thoughtful as well. That same design we have where you scroll down are these new chunks of content translates into the game details pages. You can easily view the trailers, view screenshots. You have the details of the game, like description, who developed it, what are the features and capabilities. If you want to know if a game uses Xbox live and how, you can check that out in the detail section. [crosstalk 00:28:41] great display.
Larry: One of the things that I want to point out is here. I'm going to go into, let's see one of the enhancers who want [inaudible 00:28:47], for example. We can see right there, it's including Game Pass, how much it is. Now, we've also got additions. This is something that a lot of people... Here we go. Here's the new additions. Tell us about this.
Cody Bird: Yeah. I think that we started exploring a little bit last holiday and had some really great success with our fans. Had a lot of great success even with our publishers, really loving to display this content. One, something we're doing with the new Microsoft Store and Xbox is we're doing more to surface the different additions of the game and make it an easier for customers to choose and pick which one that they might want to play. When you're in a game, when you go to view to a PDP, A, making those additions really clear, in some cases, even popping that up. If we're thinking that, Hey, maybe you didn't know which edition you meant to pick yet, we may be [inaudible 00:29:36] you here and help you pick which one. So that way, a complaint we hear sometimes and a fair one is men with these games have so many different additions in so many different ad ons. How do I keep it all straight? We're hoping that the new design helps clarify some of those details.
Larry: Yeah. I mean, you see right off the bat. Here's what it includes, you can go left and right, what the price is, if it's with Game Pass, of course they're all with Game Pass. The only thing that I noticed is that the new store, it's way easier to navigate with the controller. Let's talk about some of the work you guys did there.
Cody Bird: Yeah. I think that's a great thing to call out and without going too inside baseball, one of the things that was true about the Microsoft Store that's live now is it's a pretty shared code base between what we do on microsoft.com store, what we do on our Microsoft Store on web. While that had a lot of great efficiencies and opportunities to keep a consistent experience, it didn't do as much as it could to celebrate the navigation and the power of the Xbox. So this new design we took on was really put first in mind with the notion of, I'm sitting 10 feet away from my 4K TV with a controller in my hands, how do I most easily navigate that through? We have an excellent design team in Xbox who went back to first principles and thought about how best can we navigate through all this new content, especially in a world that we have things like Game pass that didn't exist when we launched the previous Xbox Store and all of these new pieces of information we want to share about our games.
It was a great chance to restructure. Part of that is this left navigation you see here, Larry, where when you have so many different ways to slice our catalog, not just our games, but our movies and our TV and our apps. Helping people jump to the thing they care about and not having to navigate between menus is important. This is another great addition that we're making is this gallery view. When you view, you're viewing something that you want to really double click into. I want to view the top games. I want to view the Game Pass games. We show this richer gallery view where just like before, if you sit on one of these games, you'll see the trailer, you'll see the details about what is its description, the beginning of that description. And again, if you click into this, we're going to take you to that rich game details page, where we're going to show you the full set of information you might want to know.
Larry: There's the additions again. We talked about it. Yeah, I mean, there's so much to talk about here, but the themes we're seeing is faster. The new store is faster. You talked about being easier. We've redesigned a lot of things to work really well with the controller and a lot of it's based on the feedback. There's a lot of work going on there. You also did a little bit of work around the shopping cart. Let's talk about that and the wishlist. So let's go back up to the top here. Let's talk through that.
Cody Bird: Yeah. One of the things that we added in the middle of the lifecycle of the previous store is wishlist in our shopping cart. While those were great features, they were a little buried at times and hard to discover. One of the things that we're really putting a lot of energy into is when you go to any game details page experience, making it really easy to add that game to your wishlist here, you can see in that third button, add it to your shopping cart. When you have those things inside of your wishlist or your shopping cart, if you go back to that home screen experience, you can quickly see what's in that cart, see what's in that wishlist and complete that purchase. If you click on your wishlist, for example, we'll showcase that.
This is a way for you to see those things hop back to the game so you express interest in. Another change we made really excited about is recently viewed.
Larry: Oh yeah. Look this.
Cody Bird: You've been looking at things in the store and say, "Hey. Oh yeah, I remember looking at a game recently that was pretty exciting to me, but I can't easily get back there, but I want to put a notification on. I want to put it in my wishlist." You can do that. One of the great things about wishlist is when a game goes on sale, we give you a notification. So that way, if you put something in your wishlist and say, "Man, I don't want to buy this now, but I'm excited to come back." If that game ever goes on sale, we let you know to give you a good opportunity to get in there and buy that content at a deal.
Larry: There's also some other things here. I mean, here in this one, you can see friends that played the game, you see that at the top, we've seen that a little bit. Right above here, we see the LB and RB. There's a lot of tips to get you moving around here and where you want to go. In fact, up in the left hand corner, you can see the view button. So that I know that when I hit the view button, it instantly pulls out the menu. Right?
Cody Bird: Exactly. And so much of this for us is just trying to make things predictable and easy to read. One of the things we know is we've got some diehard fans who are going to know this inside and out and be able to do with our eyes closed. But one of the things that's important to us when we think about an easier to use store is a store that is more inclusive for folks who might be new to our experience, might be new to the Xbox family, especially within the next generation of consoles. So giving us an opportunity to make sure that that is not just efficient and fast and really natural and your controller, but intuitive and really just direct in terms of how I should use things, what I should do to close things.
Larry: I'm sorry. I'm in the settings here and I see this interesting about disabled motions and autoplay sound. Tell us about that. That's great.
Cody Bird: Yeah. This is huge. One of the common complaints we get a lot from fans and it's actually interesting, it cuts both ways. We've tried to make some changes and have gotten feedback on both is how video works and how sound works when you interrupt [inaudible 00:35:20].
Larry: You and I have had many spirited conversations about this.
Cody Bird: Many spirited conversations. Yeah. I've been pulled apart on both sides on this. Ultimately, I think what we decided, and I think is a really a principle of the new store all up is choice. We'd rather let people choose what they want to do. If you actually press start at any time here and pull up the menu, we actually give you the choice in line to say, hey, do I want to turn on sound of autoplay videos? Do I want to have that set of control at your fingertips? Instead of trying to find one single way to do some of these things that we know people have different ideas and opinions on.
Larry: Yeah. I mean, here you can see the trailer. At the top you see. I'm like, "Oh, you know what, I don't want to hear sound or I don't want autoplay." You can do that right there.
Cody Bird: Exactly. I thought I was going to hate it. I thought like, there's no way I want sound in my autoplay videos and as I'm using the new store experience and browsing around, I actually really enjoy it. I encourage everybody who gets their hands on the new store experience to try out some of those different settings and find out what works for them. They might be surprised.
Larry: The other, of course, you can redeem and do all of those things over here as well like you've always been able to do. One of the other areas that we're focusing on, Cody, is safer. Tell us about that because I was going through some of the notes here and I have safer scribbled in the column of my notes. Tell us about that.
Cody Bird: Yeah. Safety is important to us. I think one of the things that we care a lot about in the world of store especially is, how do we make a store that doesn't just work for people like me. I'm a grown adult with lots of disposable income and I'm excited to play the full range of Xbox games, but also folks with families who maybe have kids that they want to do a little bit more to keep an eye on and control what they're playing and what they're seeing inside of the store. We've made a couple of really important changes and some of these are a little harder to show with your [inaudible 00:37:17], but I think it's useful to talk through for folks who are interested.
One of the things we did is the store doesn't support anonymous logins anymore. So we ask people to sign in. You might not have even realized this as an Xbox customer that you could go to the store without being signed in in an account. But it was an easy loophole for sometimes for folks who had content restrictions to get around some of those things that were helping close so we can make sure that the experience is more consistent. The other things that we're really leaning in on is doing more to show the ratings and more prominent ways of content. So if you actually want to pop back to the store, one of the things that we worked really hard on that we're proud of is if you go to one of those game galleries, like your new top new games,-
Larry: We'll go down here and [crosstalk 00:38:04] over here.
Cody Bird: Yeah, we can check out something new.
Larry: Most popular. That's where we were.
Cody Bird: Sounds great.
Larry: Then which one you want to go into?
Cody Bird: Yeah, you can stop right here. Oh, we have to turn on our trailers again. We turned those off I think on the setting. That's important. There you go. If you pop back in. If we pop over to Borderlands, for example. Oh, it looks like we might be having a little bit of a hiccup here, but before that trailer runs, we show ... There you go, Cities: Skylines. Oh, that's what it is. [inaudible 00:38:41] on these. We show this standardized ratings information.
Larry: If you're in the US here, then it's ESRB and overseas, it's Peggy and so forth.
Cody Bird: Exactly. [inaudible 00:38:51] or whatever your regional ratings board will be. If that game has a trailer, we're going to make sure that we always show a consistent ratings experience before that-
Larry: There's one.
Cody Bird: ... Which is a really useful things, not just for our customers, but for our publishers as well, where localizing and regionalizing all those trailers just to have different ratings information could be pretty messy.
Cody Bird: Us doing this in a consistent automated way is safer for our fans. It's also way more reliable, especially in inclusive for folks who aren't in the US but maybe they still want to speak in English and they want to see the local rating sport. We're much better at giving them the right thing.
Larry: I just want to drill into one of the game details page. We see this down here, but down here at the bottom, we also have screenshots where it's included, which in one of the earlier piece, I didn't have that. Ratings. Talk about ratings. You guys have done a lot of work around ratings, haven't you?
Cody Bird: Yeah, exactly. This is a space too. I think one of the things that's great about launching this experience in Insiders first is this isn't really ending point for this. This is a new starting point. We have lots of things that we're excited about bringing to the fore. We've redesigned the ratings experience to make them easier to view, easier to filter. I think one of the things that we're excited about in the store is almost everything's filterable. If you're looking at ratings and reviews, we're going to show you different ratings and filters and sorts that are available.
If you pop back up a level to those top games, we can help you filter through some of those details there. If you hit X to filter here, you can filter this list of most popular games by particular genres or even star ratings or ESRB ratings. Once you're done with those things, pop back out and you'll see that this list has been filtered. You can sometimes feel through your way down to a very small list of games depending on where you start, but I love being to be precise. I'm a big fan of strategy games and I like playing cooperatively with my friends. Those filter features go a long way to making that easy to do.
Larry: Yeah. Like you say it to your point, if you can go into any one of these filters and click on coming soon and go, you know what, show me all the ones that are teen so I can figure out or even everyone, what are the games I can play with my family and there you go. They can see that.
Cody Bird: Yeah. Exactly. And making it easy to shop with your family is a huge part of what we're hoping to do here. I think there's a lot of advantages there. We do really similar things on movies and TV. We show standard pre-roll ratings before movie trailers. I think that was a place where we've gotten feedback from the password. Man, it seems inconsistent that a trailer for a movie that's rated R could show but I can't see a team game. It was a good opportunity for us to look through some of those places where there were inconsistencies or issues and help get those things taken care of.
Larry: You can see it's as similar. We didn't spend a lot of time in the movies, but the movies area got the similar treatment of exactly the same things, the different versions, the different formats. That's real helpful.
Cody Bird: Exactly. Yeah. What we're really excited about is this update to our visual languages is really all across the app. It's for our apps, it's for hardware and movies and TV in addition to games. Obviously, we had Xbox love games, but we have all kinds of great content in our store. We want to make sure that we celebrate that stuff well.
Larry: I just want to point out, Cody, this is the store update, which is going to be rolling out obviously to Insiders now and to everyone else later on the year. I mean, obviously since it's going Insiders now, people are going to get this on whether they have an Xbox One or an Xbox if they buy an Xbox series X, you're going to see the same thing. Correct?
Cody Bird: Yeah, totally correct. I think that's another thing that was important to us is we love our Xbox One fans. Today, they're our most loyal customers. We want to make sure that when we're thinking about how we make the store better, we make it better for everybody. So this experience that you're going to get, you're going to see on your Xbox One today and it's only going to get better on Xbox Series X, but the hardware is even more powerful. All the great performance wins that we're doing now for the store only get better on the next generation of Xbox console.
Larry: I know it's very exciting. Cody, I mean, we don't want to spend too much time in the store because I mean, we've done a lot of stuff here. People need to go read the blog post over at Xbox Wire. I'll have a link and then, if you're not in Insiders, you need to sign up for Insiders. But if you're not, don't worry about it because this store will become the store... What are the plans for the roll-out Cody?
Cody Bird: Yeah, that's a great question. We're going to start the roll-out basically this week. We're going to start gradually rolling it out to customers and we're going to take it through the Insiders for a week or two, get feedback, make sure that things are comfortable. Then, from there we're going to start turning it on at random customers inside of our general audience to see how our performance, make sure that it's stacking up well, people are happy, our customers are happy. Our hope is that as early as September, we're going to have this turned on for all fans, but it's important to us that for something as important as store, which our customers use every day, we get it right. We're going to take the time to make sure that we're building the best experience we can and that it feels like an improvement to everybody who uses it.
Larry: I also want to point out that you guys have migrated to this brand new platform, which is going to provide you a lot more flexibility. So you're going to be able to innovate even quicker, I assume. Right?
Cody Bird: That is correct. Yeah. React Native on Windows has been a huge watershed shift for us in terms of being able to, not just make things perform it, but be so much more agile. The time it took for us to build this store while it was a lot of work was a fraction of the work that it required to build the previous store that we had launched. We've found that we can go from new idea to execution and testing sometimes in less than a week. That's really exciting as a foundation for us to build off of. We're so excited for what we're going be able to do this holiday and beyond.
Larry: I'm really excited guys getting a brand new store experience coming to Xbox Insiders and everybody else in the coming months. Cody Bird from the Xbox Store. Microsoft Store, I appreciate you joining the team and thanks again for all the work you do and I'm looking forward to checking out all that feedback, right?
Cody Bird: Yes. Thanks Larry. Yeah. I appreciate the opportunity to share it and then so excited to hear what our friends have to say.
Jeff: Thank you so much, Cody. If you like what you see here and I got to think, how do you not love that speed? Keep an eye out. If you're an Xbox Insider, take a look at the content that's coming as those come through into that app and you're going to want to be one of the first to get ahold of it. Of course, it will be coming to everybody, but your feedback, super well appreciated. So thanks Cody for taking the time to really walk us through that-
Larry: That was a lot of fun.
Jeff: ... And sprint us through it.
Larry: We found a little bug there that they're already fixing. That's the beauty of Insiders. Help us make things better, get an early look and you may find a bug or two, just make sure you send the feedback. File feedback.
Sai: All right. That's one of the reasons I wanted to come work here to be able to see things as they're getting built, helped to contribute. I love that. I love that we're such a [inaudible 00:45:47].
Larry: You are in the sausage factory, aren't you?
Sai: You and me both.
Larry: So yeah, that's the way it is. Anyway, we've got a few more things to talk about and we're going to up here. What do you got over there, Jeff? You've got a couple of items, right?
Jeff: Yeah. This is something that a lot of Xbox Game Pass fans have been waiting for, for some time. Just last week, Yakuza Kiwami 2 showed up in the store last Thursday.
Jeff: This is a franchise that I had heard about. I thought I knew what it was about, but I never really tried it. If Yakuza 0 came into Game Pass and Kiwami, I've gotten so into this. I'm wrapping up, I'm tying up a few loose ends of a few other story games that I'm playing. Soon as I finish that up, it should be honestly in the next day, I'm jumping headlong into Yakuza Kiwami 2. I cannot wait. I've heard really good things about this one. I just love that Game Pass was able to turn me on to this other genre, this other franchise.
Larry: That Game Pass thing worked. You discovered your next great game.
Jeff: These are great games. I'm telling you if you think you know what it's about and you think it's just a bunch of brawling, yes, there's a ton of that, but the store is so good. I'm just super into it and I cannot wait for Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which will be coming out later this year. That's going to be really fun, but a completely different take on the Yakuza worth.
Larry: (singing). Oh, nevermind not that song.
Jeff: Thank you, Madonna.
Sai: That's very good. Here's a game you've tried out. Sell me on it in 30 seconds or less, the return of Destroy All Humans! Which [inaudible 00:47:31].
Larry: Oh yeah. It's back here on my... You can't see it right now.
Sai: Just had a shot.
Larry: In fact, you can see it right here. I love the first one so much and it's just silly 50s Americana fun. I'm unlocking achievements, which is always a bonus. But I'm just having a great time with it. If you want to see what it's like to destroy all humans from the alien side, as opposed to the human side go ahead and check this out.
Jeff: It sounds a little bit like Carrie, which a lot of people are playing right now and is currently in Game Pass where you're playing the monster in a hard game and you're taking out all the people that are trying to end you and [crosstalk 00:48:14].
Larry: They've taken the campiness level and just dialed it up and it's just stupid fun. So blow things up. There's the mine mill and the anal probe and all this stuff you expect from alien lore. So yeah, you'll see.
Larry: What else do we got?
Jeff: From camping to realistic, we had a great piece on Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is coming out later this month. So excited for this. Actually, I bought a new computer. I haven't had a proper gaming PC in a very long time.
Larry: Got a nice PC on Xbox [crosstalk 00:48:52] by the way. Yeah.
Jeff: So I could [crosstalk 00:48:52] Nelson. Yeah. You wrote up. He used to play a lot of the Flight Sims and he lived in Hawaii and he went back home something we can't do right now and it just looks beautiful. I saw a great article on Digital Foundry talking about, and here's the thing that I thought was really cool about that, which is like, look, the proper way to play this game as a Sim with... It's not even a game. To play the Simulators really like, if you've got a yoke and you've got the throttle and pedals and-
Larry: And the [crosstalk 00:49:22].
Jeff: ... All that stuff, but the games coming to Xbox Game Pass. If you turn on all the assists, you can actually play this with a controller or a mouse and keyboard, and you'll be able to get off the ground. You might not be amazing, you're not going to be flipping in all the switches, but it has those assists on. If you just want to get into the air and-
Larry: Enjoy the beauty.
Jeff: ... See the world, you can do that. It's never been more approachable because it's on Xbox Game Pass for PC or it will be. You'll be able to pre download that pretty soon. I just cannot wait. I'm so [inaudible 00:49:53].
Larry: And more importantly in this flight, you will not have a middle seat. You're in the driver's seat.
Jeff: No. You're right in the front. [inaudible 00:50:03] take one.
Larry: You're right in the pilot seat. You're making it happen. It's a lot of fun and lots of beautiful scenery for you to see.
Jeff: Don't sell it short. This is one of the most stunning games that I've ever seen in motion. I mean it. It's the world. You got to see it. I think [crosstalk 00:50:21] they're just starting to post on.
Larry: I think I told this story a couple of times here. I mean, I remember playing it on an IBM PC when it was just a green screen and the horizon. I remember there was always this really like, it felt like an eight bit version of, I don't even know what it's called now. The Sears Tower, the Hancock Tower in Chicago and going into midway field. It was amazing. And to see the realism now, the weather, the traffic, just the whole thing is just mind blowing.
Jeff: You can find your house.
Larry: I did. I found my childhood house. I found the first apartment I lived. I mean, the whole thing, you can go right down memory lane. Have fun.
Larry: I'm going to go find the [inaudible 00:51:01].
Jeff: 30,000 feet. It's not going to be hard to find, Larry. That's right where the street A1A goes up and then a little bit to the West.
Larry: I maybe able to drop it and land at A1A.
Jeff: It'd actually be pretty cool. Make sure it's assessed. A small plan. I don't know if A1A can handle it. It's seven 7:37 or something.
Larry: [inaudible 00:51:20].
Jeff: Last thing, you had to wire up if you want to bring it back up Outer Worlds, Parallel on Gorgon. This was an expansion to the Outer Worlds, which came out last year. This expansion was first announced just a week and a half ago during our Xbox Games Showcase. I cannot wait to play it, to jump back into that world, but here's more details on Xbox Wire. It's written up by Mikey Dowling down there out Obsidian and he basically talks about the raising of the level cap, the type of stuff you're going to be doing. I am all about it. There it is. I am in for more Outer Worlds and this tells you more than [crosstalk 00:52:01] until last week. Yeah, of course. In true two spacer fashion, the board, there's a lot of different asterisks.
Jeff: Yeah. The corporation's not necessarily your friend here but the game is going to be great.
Larry: I'm looking forward to going back down there-
Larry: ... To see that team down in Orange County when we're free to travel again.
Jeff: I've never been there. I know you were there for the launch of Outer Worlds, right?
Jeff: Did you do a stream there?
Larry: Yeah, we did a stream.
Jeff: I've never been there.
Larry: I would love to go down there. You know what, Jeff maybe we should take a road trip? I know that our respective wife would love to get us out of the house.
Jeff: Yeah. I don't know. They might change the locks when I get back, but I would love to go down there and meet those folks when it is safe to do so.
Larry: Absolutely. There we go. Fun stuff. It's [inaudible 00:52:56].
Jeff: That's the news.
Larry: Yeah. As I said earlier, we're posting this a little bit a weird time Monday so that we could show off the brand new store, which we just announced earlier today coming to Xbox Insider, coming to everybody later this year. That's a lot of fun. So Sai, file your feedback on that because we want to make sure everybody gets a chance to check it out.
Sai: Absolutely. You're going to want it. Yes, in fact, I don't have a choice. You're gonna eventually get it.
Larry: That too.
Sai: Not sure. You're going to be happy to have it. Trust me on that.
Larry: This is an awesome thing. All right, well, why don't we wrap it up here, Jeff, maybe we'll do another show later this week or next week. We'll take a look at the schedule. We got a lot of stuff coming-
Jeff: You're the boss.
Larry: ... A lot of news coming out. We've got a lot of cool stuff. If you'll come back on, love to have you. If you dear listener and viewer would like to come back on, let us know. Jeff, how should people engage with us? Could you tell us that please.
Jeff: Well, I mean, you could follow Larry on Twitter @majornelson. That's also his Gamertag or for me, the complaint desk as it calls it @jeffrubinstein or my Gamertag. I just want to thank the folks at Maxnomic. Part of the Xbox Gear team got us some very nice imported chairs.
Larry: We had matching chairs.
Jeff: It's so comfortable. Very much, I feel like I should be streaming more.
Larry: This is a [inaudible 00:54:17] version. Did they make the bottom is wider? It looks like it's wider.
Jeff: A little more room. It's definitely firmer. It's better on the back because I normally don't sit throughout the day because it just doesn't feel good to me, but this chair I've sat for hours and hours and I'm like, "This is good. This is what I'm playing Apex in every night."
Larry: Hit that either @jeffrubinstein or if you're watching this on YouTube, you know the drill.
Jeff: Like, subscribe and set that notifications bell. You'll love it, Larry.
Larry: Love having you guys here. All right, gang, we'll talk to you on the next show. Jeff's needs to hydrate here and we need to get back to [crosstalk 00:54:53].
Jeff: It's hot.
Larry: We need to hydrate, not only here, but in Grounded. So there we go. All right.
Jeff: So true. I'm looking out for dew right now to refill my cup.
Larry: Alright. Be careful out there our gang. We'll see you guys next time. Catch us up online and have a great time and check out all those great games in Game. Pass. Talk to you later. Bye. Bye.