Host, Xbox's Major Nelson
Head of Xbox Creator Experience
[MUSIC PLAYING] LARRY HRYB: Hi, it's Larry Hryb, Xbox's Major Nelson. Welcome to the official Xbox podcast. We've got the gang together. Let me open up them barn doors. Here they are.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Them barn doors.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: This is why it took Larry--
REBECCA GORDIUS: It's OK.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --20 minutes to get the show set up, because he was finding the right animation.
LARRY HRYB: That's not true. This is actually a new animation. I was like, ooh, barn doors.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I like the animations, keeps things spicy.
LARRY HRYB: I got it right, Jeff, look.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Great job, Larry.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: My name is Malik, apparently. I didn't even notice that during the record last week.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. When we had Malik in last week or a couple of weeks ago, we-- yeah. It was not-- I forgot to change that, so. But I've redone everything. And I think that's why I rebuilt everything. That's probably why everything is kind of messed up right now. We're having some off-air air technical issues. Anyway, great to see you all. Hello, New York.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Hello. Happy Friday.
LARRY HRYB: Happy Friday. Hello, Jeffrey.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Hi.
LARRY HRYB: What are you wearing? That is that an Obsidian shirt?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. They sent me one a few-- I was supposed to be in a-- I was participating in a charity stream with them in December. They're like, oh, we'll send you an Obsidian shirt. And I was like, I would love an Obsidian shirt. And--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Nice.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm wearing it.
LARRY HRYB: You certainly are.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Disclaimer, it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean--
LARRY HRYB: Nothing. Now here's what it means.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --we're making an announcement this week. It's just a shirt, and it's very comfortable, and it's clean.
LARRY HRYB: Actually, it does mean something.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Huh?
LARRY HRYB: You forgot to do laundry, so you're at the back of the closet.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No. What it is is this is the first warm couple of days we've had in Seattle, so that's why it's time for the gun show.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, please.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's my elbow. It's time for the elbow show. And I'm in a small box. I can't be contained. All right, now I have a big box, and I'm under pressure. So anyway--
REBECCA GORDIUS: No--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --a short sleeve. This was the first one out of the closet, so.
LARRY HRYB: Excellent
REBECCA GORDIUS: You know what? I feel like I really enjoyed back when we were on campus, people would wear a lot of different gaming shirts and nerdy shirts. And I kind of miss that. I will admit, I left most of mine back in Seattle in storage. And--
LARRY HRYB: Well, I got to tell you--
REBECCA GORDIUS: --didn't bring them to New York, but.
LARRY HRYB: --as somebody who's been in New York and spent a lot of time in New York over the years, that's not quite New York style. I mean, you've got to have the black shirt like you got right now, and-- you know? So it's-- yeah. The gaming gear doesn't quite roll in New York. Some parts of New York, some parts of New York, I should say.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. There were-- my roommate and I both talked about the Microsoft office, the way that people would dress with a Patagonia, blue jeans, and then just a sweater. And then that was the uniform. Throw in a couple of gaming hoodies or gaming T-shirts for people like us. But now in New York, it's like everyone dresses so much nicer, so.
LARRY HRYB: Well, that's why when I noticed when I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast, it was-- the first five years, I'm like, what is wrong with these people? Everybody wears fleece.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Everyone's comfortable. What's wrong with these people?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. You're the first person that I've seen remotely wearing a button-up shirt in a couple of weeks, I think.
LARRY HRYB: I want-- the listeners have taken their time and their energy to download or watch the show, and I want to make sure that I'm giving back to them, so.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Sensible, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. You're wearing shorts, though. I'm sure, I'm sure. Yeah. No one needs to know. Oh, I called him out. The guess was [INAUDIBLE]. It was super effective.
LARRY HRYB: I'm actually wearing sweatpants, so.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, welcome to the club.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway--
As I said earlier, we've had a busy week of gaming, another busy week again. We've got some announcements later up in the show. We've got-- Sarah Bond is going to talk about our GDC, Game Developer Conference, news. Sarah's a good friend of the show, so she and I had a great conversation about that. Have you seen that news?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I've seen the news--
REBECCA GORDIUS: I have not.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --but I'm looking forward to hearing it directly from Sarah.
LARRY HRYB: That'd be Bond, Sarah Bond.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We have a big--
REBECCA GORDIUS: I'm sure that she's never heard that joke before.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --article on Xbox Wire, so if you prefer to read as opposed to listening to Sarah-- which is, by the way, I don't think anyone would say that they would-- but we do have a lot of words. Basically, how Microsoft game development delivered all these technical demos and talks over the course of GDC. I miss GDC.
LARRY HRYB: I do, too.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Hopefully, we'll go next year.
LARRY HRYB: Well, you used to live in San Francisco, so it was always probably more of a local show for you. I used to--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: --fly down. And I miss it, too.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, same.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway, let's jump in and talk about-- look, I don't even have to ask Jeff what he's playing. I can see it in his-- right there in the hero tile on the main screen behind him over to the right. Elden Ring. Hi, Jeff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I can hardly play anything else. I mean, I wish I had more to say than that, but the game--
REBECCA GORDIUS: And how's it going?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --well and truly has its-- so I beat the second major rune bearer, Radhan, yesterday. All right, now I've turned it on. It was screen with my lighting. But it's so good. I'm just going to play it through. I'm going to beat it, there's no doubt. I feel like I have momentum. I'm really moving, I've got a great build, my character's strong, I have confidence, which is such an important part of playing. And I'm just rolling. And honestly, I don't know-- it would be very hard for another game to come out this year that I will like better.
Now obviously, we have some very exciting things coming down the line, but Elden Ring really raised the bar. So obviously, it will have been many months before I get to play Starfield and I might feel very differently in November. But right now, it's like this is my favorite game in quite some time.
LARRY HRYB: I appreciate that.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I think that-- so I was talking with some other coworkers in a meeting, and we were just talking about Elden Ring and who we know who's playing it. I think one of them had said that you had finished it already. Is that true?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm glad my legend seems to have outstripped reality--
REBECCA GORDIUS: I know. It's like, really?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --but no. I really should look up and see how much I've played. I have to have been about 50 hours in.
LARRY HRYB: Wait a minute, I just realized--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Because I'm just doing everything. Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: I mean, other than the speedrunners, I don't think I know anybody that's finished it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No, there's people on our team who have finished the game.
LARRY HRYB: OK.
REBECCA GORDIUS: So Will.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So definitely, people-- it was Will, the editor of Xbox Wire. In fact, now he's basically just a good Samaritan within the game, and he's helping people out, LFG-ing, helping people beat bosses, things of that nature, which is--
REBECCA GORDIUS: What a good guy.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: He's Good Guy Will.
LARRY HRYB: He's kind of part of the Elden Ring welcome wagon, right? He goes out. And he's offered to help me a few times. And not that I didn't resist him, but I just didn't have time to do it at that moment. But yeah, he goes on and just randomly helps the community, random people, play the game, and really learn the game as well.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah it's like the community-- we talked about this a little bit last week, so I don't want to super deep dive it. But just, we've talked about how this game, while it can be incredibly unforgiving, the community just really seems to exist to help each other out. While you can technically invade other areas, and there's even a couple storylines that ask you to do that, in general, I don't-- I think I was invaded maybe one time in all of the time.
LARRY HRYB: Explain this concept of invasion, because I don't--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So this is something that's gone on since the original Demon's Souls back over a decade ago, which is-- the game, while you're playing, you're online. And while it is primarily a single-player experience moment-to-moment, at certain points in the game, either you can summon help, or you can-- conversely, a bad person can come into the game, a nemesis if you will, hunt you down, and fight you in single combat. And if they beat you, then they go away. It's completely random. You don't know who they are.
LARRY HRYB: Did they take any of your items?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So it's not like [INAUDIBLE] is going to keep jumping in a game. No. It's just they come in, they get something good if they do it. You lose your runes that you're carrying. But then, you can just go back and pick them up. When I was playing Dark Souls III, I want to say, a couple of times, it happened to me at an inopportune moment. Like, all right, I'm very focused on this. And then, what? Someone's invading my world! Not now! But that's-- again, it's only happened once. Whereas I've had people come in and help me out with stuff. And it's been very helpful and very fun. And we just-- I don't know. It's a really fun community. At least, that's been my experience with it. I'm just looking to see how long I've played it. I've played it two days, eight hours, and 7 minutes. So 48 and 8 is 56 hours and 7 minutes in. And--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Impressive.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --many more to go. It just goes by so fast.
LARRY HRYB: Elden Ring. What are you playing right now, Rebecca?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Well, one of my friends just brought their gaming laptop from home. So now that I have access to-- I mean, I guess technically, I've downloaded Steam games onto my work computer before. But they--
LARRY HRYB: Because it's work.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --don't run--
LARRY HRYB: It's work.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, of course. But they don't run very well. And so I-- anyways, long story short, so I've been playing DEATHLOOP on my friend's gaming PC.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, fun.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I just started it. I still haven't gotten past the longest day. But I really like it. So far, it's giving me BioShock vibes, you know? Mystery voice--
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --waking up, not really knowing what's going on, figuring out puzzles. Well, not puzzles, but different tools and ways to play the game. So yeah, I really like it so far. So yeah. What about you, Larry?
LARRY HRYB: You can see Elden Ring over my shoulder here, which needs to get towards the front. Jeff and I need to do some more co-op, or you need to. Or maybe I'll just get Will to help me out. But the other one I'm playing--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: Let me see if you can see it. Yeah, you can't really see it. TUNIC, which we had the interview last week, and it's on Game Pass. And I am just enjoying it. It is a different type of difficult than Elden Ring. And the Dark Souls people say, oh, it's like Dark Souls in terms of the difficulty. It's challenging, but it's fun.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm very much looking forward to it. I just-- and it's sitting there on my dash. It's--
LARRY HRYB: Am I taunting you every night when you see me playing it?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Where is it? It's right there. And yeah. It's right there. I've downloaded it. I'm dying to play it. But I know I can't start two games at once when I'm so into one. And I don't want to lose the momentum I have.
LARRY HRYB: Right, right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So as soon as I'm done Elden Ring, straight looking into TUNIC. I heard-- because it was a challenging game. They had a pretty robust demo. I must have put in three or four hours--
LARRY HRYB: They changed a lot in the demo.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --into the demo.
LARRY HRYB: I was surprised.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, OK. Well, that's good. I also heard that there's a difficulty slider, because the game was tough. And after coming off of this game--
LARRY HRYB: It is?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --I might want to drop the game down and-- at least, that's what I had read.
LARRY HRYB: I didn't find-- maybe it's--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right. Well, now I got to do my research.
LARRY HRYB: Much like the rest of the game, there's a lot of-- you've got to figure it out. So it's not direct. It's not as esoteric as Elden Ring. But it's certainly-- it's got this interesting language for the manual. So I'll go take a look. I see you're doing a web search right now for it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I am doing it. No, there's no-- did I make that up?
LARRY HRYB: I don't know.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I really thought there was a difficulty--
LARRY HRYB: We had the developer--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --setting.
LARRY HRYB: --on last week. He never mentioned it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Hmm.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right, never mind.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I thought-- I just read it wrong, or I was reading the wrong thing.
LARRY HRYB: Anyways, so yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Because I was like, ooh--
LARRY HRYB: TUNIC is what I'm playing right now.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --I'm just going to turn the difficulty down.
LARRY HRYB: And right now, just that's kind of it. That's kind of it, so. You still looking, Jeff?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Ooh.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right, so here's the thing. There is, if you go into Accessibility. So I'm not wrong, I'm just not fully right. I'm going to PR that. So there is a no fail and an unlimited stamina mode. So if you're finding the combat to be too difficult, especially on boss fights, if you go into the Accessibility menu--
LARRY HRYB: Yes.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --you will find both no fail mode, which prevents you from taking any damage at all, and then there's also no stamina restriction, so you don't deplete when you dodge, roll, or something like that. So you can turn them on and off at any time, even in the middle of a boss fight. So I would say if you're getting stuck, you know? Why bang your head against a wall forever? You have a couple of options there to help you.
LARRY HRYB: There's vibration, screen shake motion, damage flash, no fail mode. I've got those off. I just want to be clear.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I know, I know. I'm just saying, OK, so they're not traditional difficulty modes, but there are some things there to help you get over the hump if need be.
LARRY HRYB: Yes. Thank you for that.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I'm-- so I haven't played TUNIC, but I'm considering starting now. It sounds really good. But so, I'm reading "Five Things to Know Before Starting TUNIC," and it's funny. The first thing it says is, "Find the sword ASAP. You start with nothing more than a little stick. It is practically useless."
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: So.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I thought that was funny.
LARRY HRYB: And finding the sword--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Practically useless
LARRY HRYB: --lets you change the game. And then you get the sword. And I don't-- I mean, this isn't really a spoiler. But then you'll get a shield. And then it goes on from there.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Makes sense.
LARRY HRYB: Even the developer last week talked about this, if you listen to last week's show, if you're playing TUNIC. It's isometric, and so the camera can kind of-- I don't want to say fool you, but can kind of hide some areas that you can get into and kind of take shortcuts to other areas. So just explore everything. Hint, hint.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Got it.
LARRY HRYB: Go under the waterfall. So.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Thanks, Larry.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway, so that's what we're playing this week. We've got, as I said, we've got Sarah Bond coming up. We've got a bunch of great news, including-- hold on a minute. Hold on a minute, Jeffrey. Hold on a minute, Rebecca. Oh, they're right here.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: He's got his gloves.
REBECCA GORDIUS: You better not have what I think you have.
LARRY HRYB: Well, let's find out. Jeff or Rebecca, do you want to bring us into Sarah Bond, and then we'll come back on the other side and we'll show you what this is all about?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I mean, I think we teed up Sarah pretty excellently, but we definitely want to know more about what Xbox showed off during Game Developers Conference, what we're doing to increase and improve, and set the creator community up for success. So I'm looking forward to watching right now.
LARRY HRYB: As promised, joining us this week is someone who has become a good friend of mine. And I'm very excited to have her on the show. Bond, Sarah Bond. Sarah, how are you?
SARAH BOND: I am great. Thank you for the stellar intro. And thanks for having me again. It's been a while.
LARRY HRYB: It's funny, I, was looking back. We had you on at E3 last year, or E3 time-ish last year, June, where we had a bunch of announcements. But I'm excited to have you back on again. I mean, you and I been chatting off the air quite a bit about, let's find-- let's get you on again. And I'm excited to have you on, because this week is the Game Developers Conference. And there's been quite a bit of news this place, both across the industry, and Microsoft. And this is-- I mean, GDC is a fun time when creators come together. But I wanted to kind of get you in here. You had a blog post earlier this week.
SARAH BOND: Yes.
LARRY HRYB: I figured you can go over some stuff and tell us about your excitement for game developers.
SARAH BOND: Yeah, 100%. It's great to be here. And I think we talked about it last time, but my whole team, we are dedicated to empowering game developers and game creators. We build all the tool sets that people use if they want to bring their games to Xbox. We run the Xbox Store. And we do all of the commercial partnerships with game creators globally. And it has been just fantastic to be able to, frankly, serve and help the people that make all the incredible games that we love.
LARRY HRYB: So yeah, so just to let people know, I mean, we have the game developers, first- and third-party, of course, that make these great games. But your team is really everything else to make sure that they get their idea, realize their idea, and then get it on Xbox Game Pass, for PC, for console, cloud, I mean you do all that stuff, right?
SARAH BOND: Yeah, all of it. Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: That's pretty amazing. Tell us about some of the news that we have this week coming out of the Game Developers Conference. Because that's usually a time where maybe consumers and customers, gamers, may not hear the news and see the effects of it right away, but it's kind of the tip of the iceberg for things that are coming further on down the line in the game development space.
SARAH BOND: Yeah, I think that's a great way to put it, is that there's a ton of work that we're doing now. And in a year, or two years, or three years, we're all going to get to play them as games. And that's what I love about what we do, is we really, really help the people, whose ideas that they're working on, help them come to fruition. And so a lot of the work that we're announcing at GDC and shared it to you this week is exactly about that. So we had 27 talks, nine technical demos, all for game developers to continue to find new ways that they can bring their ideas to fruition. All of that, if you're interested in any of it, is on microsoftgamedev.com.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
SARAH BOND: And we had two big announcements. One is a program called the [email protected] program, which is a free program that makes it easier for developers to take advantage of Azure cloud tools and services. So it really, really lowers the barrier to entry, makes it easy to get started.
And the second is an Azure game development virtual machine. And what that does is it enables developers to really reduce friction, be able to move far more agilely by bringing a whole set of services together in a virtual machine that they can access on the cloud, so they don't have to do everything on-prem or necessarily be in all of the same space to be able to get their work done.
So both of these things, were launching them, we're talking about them. And in a year, in two years, we're actually going to get to play the incredible games that are unlocked because of these services.
LARRY HRYB: You talked about the blog post a moment ago. And I'll put a link to that in the show notes below. But I think one of the most important things, exciting things, it's great to see, is there's a great fireside chat with you and Phil, where you kind of just talk about the industry. And it's always great. You know, I've had Phil on many times. Of course, you're now a regular guest. But it's just great to see you two talk, because you and Phil work together on so many levels. I mean, he's your boss. He's all of our bosses in some regards. But he really helps bring focus and guide us along this journey to 3 billion gamers, doesn't he?
REBECCA GORDIUS: He does. The thing that I love about Phil is he really, really focuses in on what matters most. I actually did a little tweet about him coming off of his Lifetime Achievement Award. He said, it's all about team. Come together as a team. If you come together as a team day after day, we will solve or be able to unlock something, as long as we work together.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
SARAH BOND: The second thing I talked about is he talks about empathy. In particular, empathy for your customer. And so, it's about putting the player at the center. But also, putting game creators at the center, because if you unlock game creators, if you enable them to build a better world or realize some dream that they have in their mind, that's ultimately what we get to enjoy as players on the other side.
And the last thing I talked about that he really taught me is that it's OK to make mistakes. The mistakes are actually good, that you can learn from them, that that's how we grow, that if you never make a mistake, it's probably because you never took a risk. And the first time he ever talked to me about this was actually when I was going on stage for E3 2019.
LARRY HRYB: Right.
SARAH BOND: And it was the first time I had been on stage for Xbox. And it can be intimidating and sort of scary. There's thousands and thousands of people in the audience--
LARRY HRYB: This is what it was still live. This is when it was still live.
SARAH BOND: Still live, exactly, still live. Millions of people are going to watch it. I'm going on after Keanu Reeves, which is basically just-- the bar is as high as it can possibly be. He said, you know what, Sarah? He said, I've been doing this for years. And he goes, and I always make some mistake early on when I'm talking. And I just realized that frees me, because the mistake is made, I can keep going, and it's totally OK. You can make a mistake. And that was just such a lovely, encouraging, and just real piece of advice. And I think it's really the combination of those two things that guides us as a team, and makes us just keep continue to push forward and do good things for the industry, but also do it and having fun and being all the time and enjoying being together.
LARRY HRYB: You know, it's interesting you talked about Phil. Those are great points, by the way. And people can follow you on Twitter. I've got your--
SARAH BOND: You added one, I think, on that tweet, too.
LARRY HRYB: I did. I added on to that one. That's right, you go back and take a look at that.
SARAH BOND: That's hilarious.
LARRY HRYB: But what-- I want to talk to you because you said something interesting about empathy for the customer. And I have to tell you-- and we're going to talk about games we're playing in just a minute. But I mean, Phil plays games all the time, doesn't he? And I are-- once in a while, I'll just throw him a party invite. And we were playing the other night. We were playing-- I don't even remember what we were playing. But he goes in there. And so it's not only does he play the games, but he also files bugs all the time. Like, hey, I'm seeing this weird thing.
SARAH BOND: Absolutely, yes.
LARRY HRYB: And he's-- people obviously look at them.
SARAH BOND: He totally does.
LARRY HRYB: But he consumes and uses our products just like gamers do, like you do, like I do. And that's what's great. We feel a big team, because we're all using the same product. We're trying to make the product better. And that's what's exciting.
Phil and I were talking about playing games. You and I haven't played together yet, but we need to do that. Tell me what you're playing now.
SARAH BOND: As of right now, I am playing TUNIC.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, isn't it so good?
SARAH BOND: I want to say the right words so that you don't have to cut them. It's challenging.
LARRY HRYB: Yes, exactly, exactly. It sure is.
SARAH BOND: But it's just beautiful fun. It's engaging. I love the character. I started playing with my son, so we're switching off playing together. My daughter is actually the best at fighting.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, interesting.
SARAH BOND: At 10 [INAUDIBLE] better. She gets the controls better. But I've been really enjoying it. And I've also just enjoyed it because I know it's one that the team discovered years ago, right? And we stuck with the developer, indie developer, to create this. And it comes out, and it's just so delightful.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. I mean it's-- you're absolutely right. And last week, I had a chance to talk to the developer. And he was so great. And it was just interesting to talk to those folks. And in fact, we were talking about on the last show, do you find-- because your team works with all the developers, whether they're Triple-A developers or [email protected] developers, it feels like that because of the tools your team is creating and has created, and some of the announcements this week, the lines are blurring between a Triple-A developer and [email protected] It feels like everyone is empowered with the same-- they may not have 500 people in a studio, they may have three. But they still have access to the same tools, right?
SARAH BOND: Well, I mean, that's what we want to happen.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
SARAH BOND: Right? And I think we're actually seeing that process happen with the advent of the cloud. But it used to just be that there were some experiences that only the largest Triple-A developers could develop.
LARRY HRYB: Right.
SARAH BOND: And as engines have been developed and productized, people have started adopting those versus creating their own. As cloud tools have come about, you're able to actually access all of these things that Triple-A developers typically would only use in the cloud, and they're all productized, smaller and smaller studios can achieve something.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
SARAH BOND: And I think that's especially important, because a lot of us forget now, most of the largest games and most famous games in the world started out as indie devs. It started out as someone was trying to do something, and they short of had to crawl their way to greatness over many, many years. But this just really shortens that cycle and enables us to bring content and experiences and empower the creators to bring them in a way you couldn't before.
And the other side of that-- and you and I have talked about this before-- is also Game Pass, in my mind.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, yeah.
SARAH BOND: Because it's like, OK, we make it possible for someone to make the game. But will someone click on it and play it if it's not a known name brand or a known developer?
LARRY HRYB: Right.
SARAH BOND: And Game Pass has done a ton to unlock that. 9 out of 10 people say they played a game in Game Pass they wouldn't have before. I think we shared some stats today as part of GDC about the incredible success, triple-digit growth, that [email protected] developers have had on our platform over the course of the program. And it's been significantly accelerated by Game Pass. So I really love the one-two punch of, hey, we're seeing it's much easier to make a game. But then it's also much easier for that game to have commercial success, because we've also made them more accessible in what we're doing at Xbox.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. You've probably heard me say this. And I know I've said it on the show before. But I love saying this, because to me, it just captures it. Game Pass enables you to change the decision from what to buy to what to play, because that barrier--
SARAH BOND: Oh, that's so good. Yes.
LARRY HRYB: Because the barrier of entry is so low, you already have access to the game. So why not check it out? So it's really great to hear.
Let's talk about the [email protected] program you mentioned earlier. What are some of the challenges that this program is going to address?
SARAH BOND: So what we were seeing is just like you said, that the cloud is becoming a greater and greater part of game production. But when you make the decision to start adopting cloud services, it's not just an instant thing. You have to pick the cloud servers you're going to be on. You have to learn about it. You have to train your developers. You have to do setup. There's a whole process to get from, hey, the idea of, I want to harness and start using these Triple-A tools, to actually being able to put it into action.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, yeah.
SARAH BOND: And we started to think, we don't want indie devs to get left behind in that. Especially if it's your first game, you don't have revenue coming in, that decision to make that investment is not an easy one.
LARRY HRYB: Right.
SARAH BOND: So how do we actually lower that barrier? So what we did with the program was we put together a set of services that you need to be able to build your game, all backed by our enterprise cloud. We combine that with a set of free credits. We also combine that with an [email protected] education portal so you can actually learn how to get going, have help for your team as they're starting to ramp. And we combined it with Azure support and PlayFab ticketed support. So the combination of the things just dramatically lowers the barrier to entry. It makes an easier decision. You can get going as an indie dev and start using these tools without it having to be a major trade-off for you as you're just balancing a ton of things on your team.
LARRY HRYB: You talked about, there may be some people listening right now that have that great game idea. How do developers get involved with the [email protected] program, and is there a cost to entry?
SARAH BOND: No there's absolutely no cost to entry. And you just go to azure.com/id for more details on how to sign up. So I would encourage anyone who's thinking about that to check it out.
LARRY HRYB: And of course, we have this huge blog post. And that's the reason we have you on, as you've got this great blog post--
SARAH BOND: That's right.
LARRY HRYB: --that I'll put a link off as well. You mentioned that [email protected] has been an inspiration for [email protected] How has that team helped [email protected]? Because there's a lot of similarities and there's a lot of, probably, excitement that you brought to the [email protected] program.
SARAH BOND: One of the first thoughts I had when Microsoft first asked me and Xbox asked me to start thinking about game developers all up was gosh, we need a program that's like [email protected] that helps people get to Xbox, that helps indies get developer tools. It's the first thought I had, because I had been working with the [email protected] team for a long time.
And so I went to the leader of that team, Chris Charla, who I think he probably had on, or some people out there listening know. And I said, hey, could we do this? And so it was completely inspired, frankly, for, to go back to what we were talking earlier, the empathy that he had developed for what it's like to be an indie dev. And the program was built with all of that ethos in it. How do we make it free? How do we make it easy? How is it something that you can just go a website and sign in and get going on? And what are the set of things that we can bring together to really empower indie creators?
LARRY HRYB: It's interesting, we've been talking for years about the power of the cloud. It feels a decade. But it feels like we're finally there in a lot of ways. We've got xCloud streaming. Now you can stream games pretty much anywhere you are if you're part of Game Pass Ultimate. You're bringing game development to the cloud so that people can now have high-powered game development machines in the cloud. And they can use them from any device they want. They could probably develop from a phone, if they wanted to, right? I mean, it's pretty extraordinary. Where do you-- what's next? Where do we see things going? You're right at the tip of the spear there.
SARAH BOND: I just think we're going to get to a world where both the creation of a game and also the ability to enjoy and play the game is going to be completely divorced from the local constraints that you're sitting on, in terms of the power of the device that you have, right? And we're going to see dramatic democratization of creation. And we're going to just see it be possible to play anywhere.
And I don't think that means that everything is going to go cloud native. I think what that's about is it's about the smart mixture of when something actually needs to be happening local, where you need to have a specialized device, with the set of cloud tools and services that complement that. So you're not all in one mode or all in another, but you're flexing between the two to create the best experience if you're a player or if you're a creator. And I think that's just going to unlock scenarios that, frankly, we can't even imagine today, but is far more immersive, empowering, and just easier for everyone to use and participate in.
LARRY HRYB: You brought up all of those points. And I completely agree with you. But there's also another part of it that we've seen. And it's really kind of been fast-tracked into it with COVID, which is the fact of distributed teams. The fact that I may have this great idea and I'm a game developer in Brazil, but my artist is in Japan, or my audio designer is in Spain, or anything. I mean, it just doesn't matter. The world is now available for you to team up with, right?
SARAH BOND: Yeah. I mean, it's an excellent point, Larry. And first of all, I'll just say, I think the power of distributed teams is something we're just tapping into. It was completely accelerated by the pandemic. But I can see how fruitful and, frankly, important it is for an industry to fully embrace it. I mean, it really does mean that the geography no longer constraints who can be on our teams. It really does mean that you can collaborate across language and cultures in ways you couldn't before.
And I think we would like to think we had been doing that. Frankly, if you said, oh, I've got people who work for me in this region or this region. But when those people weren't in the central hub, when they were dialing in, and everyone else is in the conference room brainstorming and they were looking at you, it wasn't the same as when we're truly in a remote collaborative environment. Everyone is equal in that environment. If it's in a team's call, we're all sitting there. We're collaborating.
And so I just found on my own team, that changed everything, right? And it brought those people into the conversation. It enabled us on the other side to learn things we wouldn't before. It meant that people could stay in our team and not have to move, even if they wanted to move and be closer to our family. And so it's really empowering.
But the thing that was interesting for me is when I talked to Matt Booty about that and how that was like on his teams, he's like, gosh, this remote thing is really hard. I'd like to say it's empowering, but gosh, I'm in a situation where someone's trying to do a build on their home desktop. They're downloading it on consumer-grade internet. Some of these are tens if not hundreds of gigabytes in size. Then if they make updates, they have to reupload it on the consumer-grade internet. And its days of work. It's just really, really difficult for collaboration, and it's just not the same. He wanted to tap into that, but it was just enormously hard. And I think the same was true with all the conversations that we had with game developers around the industry.
And that was one of the reasons why we created the Game Development Virtual Machine, because what that does is it brings together a whole suite of services that before, were always running on-prem. And it allows you to start collaborating and doing things in that type of environment. So you can sort of build and test and do things without that constraint. And that's the beginning of innovation that we're doing there. So we're just going to continue to invest in that, because in the end, you don't want physical location and geography to constrain who is on your team or your innovation. You really want to tap into the power of all of the talent around the globe.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. That's well said, well said. Well, listen, I know you have to go. Really appreciate you joining us. Great blog post up about Game Developer Conference this week. Powering games, empowering creators. I'll put a link to that. And make sure you go watch. Make sure you watch the fireside chat with Sarah and Phil as well. That's a lot of fun. So thank you for that.
Anyway, Sarah Bond, thank you so much for joining us today. I'll make sure I put all the right links. Of course, they can find your Twitter over there.
SARAH BOND: Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: @BondSarah_Bond.
SARAH BOND: Thanks, [INAUDIBLE].
LARRY HRYB: You're one of the 10 people I follow, so it's-- if you follow me, just go follow her, so. All right. Great to chat with you, my friend. Have a great week, and we'll catch up online. Thank you.
SARAH BOND: Yeah. Talk to you later.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Thanks so much to Sarah Bond. Always great to hear from her. If you'd like to read more on the news, then head over to Xbox Wire, and you can read the full breakdown of what went down at GDC for Xbox.
And without further ado, let's go into Larry's unboxing. I'm going to be so jealous if you have what I think you have. Oh.
LARRY HRYB: Well, Jeff, do you want to kind of narrate what we're going to be talking about here? Because earlier--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You'll have to show me, because I'm only used to these gloves. You know? These cloth gloves are next-level. So this must be this must be really good stuff. Let's take a look here, Larry. Which one? Is it--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, I'm so jealous. Dang it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: While you unbox--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Man.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --we have introduced this week the design for Xbox Spring Collection 2022. No, Larry, you stay camera-forward, you unbox--
LARRY HRYB: You sure? OK.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We'll do the price is right announcement. At Xbox, we're always looking for new ways to surprise and delight our gamers. From new product categories to finding new ways to play your favorite games, we strive to offer gamer choice. You're now looking at the design for Xbox, a team that has been collaborating closely with our partners at PowerA, that's 8BitDo--
LARRY HRYB: This is 8BitDo.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And Otterbox as well-- yep-- to create a unique selection of pastel products that embody the playfulness and whimsy--
LARRY HRYB: Wait a minute.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --that springtime brings.
LARRY HRYB: Did you say pastel and whimsy, Jeffrey?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Pastel and whimsy.
LARRY HRYB: Did you say pastel and whimsy?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You love whimsy. Oh. We got them both, we got them both. So those look like the PowerA enhanced wired controllers for Xbox Series X and S. They're compatible with Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and Windows PCs, and available in five new, playful, pastel colors. Look to me like you might have had Purple Camo and Pastel Dream. Are those are the two you got there?
LARRY HRYB: I believe it is.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Are you taking them out of the box? You've got the gloves. Get your hands clean.
LARRY HRYB: All right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There we go.
LARRY HRYB: Let's take a look. Let's see what they look like. All right, take it out, take it out. Which one should I take out first?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Take them out! The Pastel Dream.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm with you on that. No, the other.
REBECCA GORDIUS: The pink one, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: The pink one.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. Wait.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right, well--
LARRY HRYB: Good luck. We're going to open them up both, anyway, so it doesn't really matter.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh wait, that one's Pink Lemonade.
LARRY HRYB: It's not going to be as elegant--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Is it?
LARRY HRYB: --as Jeff's true crime drama unboxing last week with his plastic gloves.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh. I was actually-- oh, I'm so disappointed. I was actually going to say, I wanted to see if I could do my first unboxing and get some of these controllers, because they look so cool.
LARRY HRYB: What's funny is when we announced them, I had to go to the coding campus earlier this week and pick them up, because they weren't ready. But look at this.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, hey, now.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Benefits of being local. Oh, so cute.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right. So you're looking at the Pink Lemonade PowerA enhanced wired controller for Xbox Series X and S at a very affordable $37.99 MSRP. It's available next month, April, 2022. This has some interesting features--
LARRY HRYB: [INAUDIBLE] Jeff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There is advanced gaming buttons on the back, exactly. Get an edge over the competition with two mappable advanced gaming buttons that you can program at any time. Go full screen, Larry. They don't need to see me reading.
LARRY HRYB: I don't know.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, this is you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: You can see my jealous face.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There we go. So you can program these at any time, even in the middle of the game. It features ergonomic design, intuitive feel, button layout, and a silky smooth antifriction ring around each thumb stick that lets you game in comfort for longer than ever.
LARRY HRYB: Hold on, what's this button on the bottom?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We've got everything from the share button, a headset dial, quick access mic mute--
LARRY HRYB: What's this button on the bottom?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I believe that might be the quick access mic mute.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, I think you're right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Anyway, yes. It includes a high-quality, detachable--
LARRY HRYB: Oh, no, no, that's in the front.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Detachable?
LARRY HRYB: That's this one.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: 10-foot-- OK. Oh. Well, that's cool, too. That's pretty handy. Well, there's a high-quality, detachable, 10-foot cable that gives you the freedom to play from your favorite spot in the room. Wrap it up with an attached hook-and-loop strap until the next time you play.
So if you're someone who doesn't-- first of all, certain people like the perception of better latency through wired. So you can always do that. And then also, if you don't ever want to charge or change batteries out, they're also just can be a great controller, too, as well.
LARRY HRYB: That's the program button.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, that's the program button so that you can set-- what?
LARRY HRYB: RTFM, gang.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Those individual [INAUDIBLE] can do. There you go. That means read the--
LARRY HRYB: F-ing manual.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --fine manual.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, read the fine manual.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Larry, it looked like you also had the 8Bit one. I thought that was the cutest.
LARRY HRYB: Well, that was the first one I showed.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, OK. Yeah, yeah.
LARRY HRYB: And this one--
REBECCA GORDIUS: That one's really cool.
LARRY HRYB: --is actually interesting, because, Jeff, this has-- it's got the audio input here on the bottom. It's got a little switch here. It's got the back. It also has paddles.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, those are the pro-level back buttons. So you have easy access to your most valuable actions during gameplay.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. I really like this one.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So it comes with software available for on the console itself-- also Windows, Android, and iOS-- that gives you the control to customize button mapping, adjust stick and trigger sensitivity, vibration, and more.
LARRY HRYB: Hold on a minute. The 8Bit one has a feature that I love, that I remember, I believe, the original Xbox introduced it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, the breakaway cable.
LARRY HRYB: The breakaway cable, yep.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes. So it's hard to tell here. It is not a white controller, it is in pastel pink. On the camera, it kind of looks a little bit washed out. Maybe it's matching your shirt too closely. So the 8BitDo Ultimate Wired Controller for Xbox in Pastel Pink is available for preorder today for $44.99 from the Microsoft Store and other retailers in select markets.
LARRY HRYB: So that's the, as Jeff said, we've got the PowerA and the 8BitDo. We also have--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Do you have the Otterbox?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, I've got the Otterbox.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, I was going to ask about those, too.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: This is really, really interesting. So this controller--
LARRY HRYB: Well, this is actually just the shell.
REBECCA GORDIUS: The shell, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: OK, OK. So that is the Otterbox Easy Grip controller shell in Lilac Dream color. You can swap out pink and purple shells that go around your controller.
LARRY HRYB: I assume you want me to open this one up.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's basically to protect your controller.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: For those who drop it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's really cool.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, wow. Look at this.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I also-- aside from just dropping it, I feel like it would also be a little bit easier to grip. I've heard from some of my girlfriends that holding the controllers-- I don't know. It's kind of big in your hands. And so, could be nice.
LARRY HRYB: We did make the Xbox Series X and S controller a little bit smaller. And this has these little interchangeable--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Full screen, Larry.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's hard to see.
LARRY HRYB: I just want to make sure they can see you. I don't want to monopolize--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: They don't need to see us. You're unboxing.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Do we know what other colors it comes in?
LARRY HRYB: Well, this one, this particular one--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So there's two shells, right?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. There's right and left, and right and left. So I don't know what the differences are. But they looked similar to me.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So the soft grip pads are easily swapped in for a fresh look--
LARRY HRYB: Oh, I see.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: [INAUDIBLE] grip, and keep your hands comfortable with sweat-wicking material that is easy to wash. My brother's got very sweaty hands this would actually be great for him. Sometimes you all hand made the controller, and it's dripping wet. And--
LARRY HRYB: So this is-- let me take a look here. So on the back--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --it could be really helpful.
LARRY HRYB: On the back is R and L for right and left side that pop into the main shell. But what's interesting is-- these are both Rs-- is this one has a little bit of a texture. I don't know if you can see that on the screen.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, nice.
LARRY HRYB: And this one doesn't. So here, let me show you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh. Oh, that's cool.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, so you can decide--
REBECCA GORDIUS: OK, so you get a couple options.
LARRY HRYB: --whether you want ribbed or rough, so.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right. The Otterbox Easy Grip Controller Shell in Lilac Dream-- I'm shaking my head-- is available for purchase today for $39.99 from the Microsoft Store in the US and Canada, and other select retailers worldwide. Back to you, Larry.
LARRY HRYB: By the way, the 8BitDo ones, they have a great collection of controllers, like old-school SNES and SEGA controllers that are-- if you go look at their website, they've got a bunch of them. But they make some really good stuff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: If I recall, they also make a smaller controller, sort of like baby's first controllers.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So for people who do find the controller to be too big.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Cute.
LARRY HRYB: An official Xbox one--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It has all the buttons--
LARRY HRYB: --that we work with them on. Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, yeah.
LARRY HRYB: That was awful.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And I'm just seeing some chat. A lot of people really like the form factor of that particular controller.
LARRY HRYB: Speaking of controllers, and I don't have those here to talk about, Jeff. We also had a separate set of controllers that we talked about this week as well, right? Let me see if I can bring that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Rebecca, this is what you were hoping he was unboxing, right?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes. I was hoping he could do this one so that I could do the pastel ones, but this one is interesting.
LARRY HRYB: I'll let you deliver it, Jeff, while I kind of--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'll deliver it. You got to bring up the picture, because without it, there's like--
LARRY HRYB: I'm looking for it right now. Hold on.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, all right. So you might have seen these on social. They were trending globally, actually, as high as number 2. We introduced a couple of Sonic-- there they are-- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 custom Xbox controllers. You got to be fast-- you know, like Sonic-- in order to-- this is a limited-time, custom, Xbox Series S console and wireless controllers. This is--
LARRY HRYB: I don't even know what to say to this.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Enter to win sweepstakes.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It's--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: They look amazing.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I think they're what we would call a conversation piece, right? Like someone comes over, they see those sitting on the coffee table, and they go, oh.
LARRY HRYB: I don't know. This--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, you have a Muppet living in the house.
LARRY HRYB: This has shades of '70s shag carpeting to me, and I don't know why.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So the blue one is obviously representing Sonic. The red one is Knuckles, who was voiced by Idris Elba, which is awesome. So a couple of different things. Obviously, Xbox and Sonic go back a ways. You can-- in Sonic The Hedgehog, there's a Minecraft DLC available for download where you can explore Green Hill Zone. That, obviously, was a great connection. And then of course, the movie is coming out very soon.
LARRY HRYB: Yes.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And so, yeah. This is to celebrate that. So if you want to enter, OK, so here's how you enter. The movie out April 8. So there's actually two sweepstakes you can enter to try to win. So one, you can retweet the official Xbox sweepstakes tweet. So if you go over to the Xbox Twitter account, @Xbox, of course, they posted that at 6:27 AM on March 22, all time-specific, so you want to retweet that. It's already got 40,000 retweets and 46,000--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Wow.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --quote tweets. But you should enter. Still better odds than the lottery.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Absolutely. Then, you want to include the hashtag, #XboxSonic2Sweepstakes. Anyway, all information is over on Xbox Wire. That post went up on March 22, which was Tuesday. So take a look at that. And enter to win, because me and you, we'll never see this controller in person. We will never hold it. We will rely on you, the winner, to tell us how it is.
LARRY HRYB: Is that what you want? You want to get one of those, Rebecca, you so that you can comb it gently before you play?
REBECCA GORDIUS: It would be cool if it came with--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, I'm on-screen.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --washing instructions.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Mr. Director.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I'm hoping it comes with wash instructions. Cold water, warm water, tumble dry. You know?
LARRY HRYB: Tumble dry. Right, right, exactly.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I just got to add one thing. So in the past, all controllers, we had a social post on it today. And they were sort of evoking macarons and delicious, spring-baked goods. And at one point, there's a shot where they pull the controllers out of the oven. They're on an oven tray. And then it was like, our lawyers made us say that you should not put your controllers in the oven. And I just-- so please, also, don't put them in the washer and dryer if you win the Sonic and Knuckles one.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Good disclaimer.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Controllers and household appliances do not mix.
LARRY HRYB: So thank you for that, Jeff. That was fun. When you come out next time, Rebecca, we'll see if we can get you some of these controllers, when you come back out to Seattle.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, please.
LARRY HRYB: All right. Hey, I got something else, too.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Hmm?
LARRY HRYB: Hmm?
REBECCA GORDIUS: What you got?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I don't know.
LARRY HRYB: It is-- hold on. It's more stuck. It is-- this is actually a pretty cool device. It is called--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Zoom in. Zoom enhance. Enhance.
LARRY HRYB: Well, I'm going to explain it before I do the reveal.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right.
LARRY HRYB: All right.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Jeff.
LARRY HRYB: This is from a company called UPspec Gaming. Have you heard of this, Rebecca, this company? They're down in Australia.
REBECCA GORDIUS: No, I haven't.
LARRY HRYB: And they make this device. And let me show you right now. Here it is. This is called the xScreen.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh.
LARRY HRYB: And you can kind of figure out what it is. But they make the screen up here, and then you provide the Xbox Series S here, and it creates this-- and I was going to put it together, but I'll probably do this for next week. I wanted to show you the packaging. But this is a screen that connects-- OK, Jeff's got his own there, so.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Give it to me. I'm ready, I'm ready.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Give it to me.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: These add, these add. This is my travel buddy.
LARRY HRYB: So, Jeff-- I texted this to Jeff yesterday. He was very excited. I mean, I'm pretty excited to check it out. So it connects right onto the top of the Xbox Series S. And then it's like the ultimate gaming rig, because--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It folds down over it. So it's like you just attach it at the bottom.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Very portable.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I believe it has a pass-through power. You fold it up, throw it in your backpack, you go. I looking at-- because that site, they have a social account and they're just retweeting people who have it. And I saw a picture. It was like, this is who I want to be. They were on a plane. They put this--
LARRY HRYB: I saw that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. So they just pop that onto the seat or onto--
LARRY HRYB: The fold-down tray.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --the fold-out table, because it does fit. And flipped it up. And they're playing-- actually, they might have been playing Elden Ring. And I mean, that's a flight that goes by very quickly.
LARRY HRYB: Now, this is-- and they sent over this case as well. So everything will fit inside this--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, wow.
LARRY HRYB: --handy-dandy case. The console--
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's pretty cool.
LARRY HRYB: --the screen, the cables, you can probably put a controller in here. So next week, I'll have assembled this. And I will go ahead and put it together, and it'll be a little bit more impressive. But I know, Jeff, you've already got dibs on it for your next trip, don't you?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. Please.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway, so yeah. That's a company. It's called the xScreen. It's from a company called UPspec gaming. And I'll put a link to them in the show notes as well so you can take a look at that. Thank you for sending that over to that, team. Really interested to see what they do. And as you said, Jeff and Rebecca, it's one cable. It's just the existing Xbox Series S cable. And this thing kind of runs the power off of the USB ports. So it's just-- because it's just a screen, it's an LCD screen. So it doesn't take a lot of juice.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's cool.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. So that's fun. Anyway, Jeff, you got some more news over there, pal?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, sir. We got one, two, three, four, five, six things to talk about real quick, so I'll move quickly. First one is actually five things that I'm most excited about LEGO Star Wars the Skywalker Saga. So Mike Nelson, who works on Xbox Wire along with our resident Elden Ring expert, Will, he got to play a bunch of LEGO Star Wars the Skywalker Saga. Now, I remember when I was first hearing about this game, I was like, wait, haven't I already played this before? There are a bunch of LEGO Star Wars games.
And this is different. So those games were very like-- you would seem almost from an isometric angle and zoomed out. This has all three trilogies, but it's really over-the-shoulder and much more of a third-person action game. It looks really good. It's out April 5, and I'm very much looking forward to getting a hold of that. But it's a really good write-up over on Xbox Wire. Definitely check it out. And because it really does-- I mean, it really looks very good.
Also very good, great reviews coming in for-- Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is out. Around the time you hear this, came out today, March 25. So that is made by Gearbox, the people you know from Borderlands. Tiny Tina was a DLC character in Borderlands 2, I want to say. Voiced by Ashly Burch, who you might know as Aloy in the Horizon series. So reviews look great. It looks really cool. It is optimized for Xbox Series X and S, if that is something that you've got. So yeah. Definitely really want to check that out.
Also, another Gearbox news that came out this week. They had a game that was a PlayStation exclusive for PS5. It's coming out for Xbox. It's coming out soon, actually, April 7. It's called Godfall. So that news just came out, and sharing that. So if that was something you had seen and you said, oh, I kind of want to try that out, well, you're going to get to do that. And it will be discounted to $30 at launch. So yeah.
LARRY HRYB: Fun.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There you go. A couple of things real quickly. If you're an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member or PC member, then--
LARRY HRYB: And if not, why not?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --you've got access-- yes, exactly. So then, you've got access to EA Play. And EA Play has all kinds of good stuff. A lot of times, there's new games, access to new games, things that go in the vault. There's a lot of other stuff as well that you definitely want to check out in terms of perks and things like that. So both, let's say, NHL 22, Madden NFL 22, FIFA 22, all of those things have extra things, such as ultimate team packs that you can get as part of being in EA Play. XP boosts, skins, [INAUDIBLE] sets, all kinds of extra things. And of course, Grid Legends, which came out late last month, great looking racer, you can access that through their EA Play trials. So make sure you try that out.
LARRY HRYB: Excellent
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Two more things I want to point out. One, Fortnite, obviously, battle royale. Chapter 3 season 2, very huge game. A lot of people jumping back into it. They actually changed a significant thing for chapter 3 season 2, which is no building. And sprint over shields really seems to change the game dramatically. And I want to jump back into it. I wasn't a great builder. Larry's playing music. That's OK.
LARRY HRYB: That's the music to walk you off.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So if you're someone who was like, oh, I love the characters in Fortnite, obviously, like Marcus Fenix is in there and Master Chief, and I have all these amazing skins. But in general, I don't like the building. Well, the building is not there right now. So jump in and have fun.
LARRY HRYB: Did you like the building when you played it? Or did that slow your gameplay down? What about you, Rebecca?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I was like, at my best--
REBECCA GORDIUS: I never liked it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --I was OK. I found the right controller setting. And I was OK. But it was mostly I would throw up-- like if I'm getting shot, I don't know where I would build a little shack. But endgame status when people were building these massive things, I just can't hang with that. And then it's like, oh, and then they jump down and shotgun you. So I'm very interested in trying out third-person shooter. That's in my skill set. So yeah, I definitely want to see what that's like. And people have been pretty excited.
Last thing I'm going to call out, and it's just posted right before we started recording, Eiyuden Chronicle. So this was something that was announced last year that there was a game coming from the original maker of Suikoden, a JRPG, that will be coming out in the future. But they have an action RPG taking place in the same world called Eiyuden Chronicle Rising they just published a 30-minute gameplay walkthrough. Looks really cool, beautiful hand-drawn art style. That's over on Xbox Wire. Definitely recommend you check that out. And that we'll be releasing later this year, ahead of the larger RPG version of that game as well.
LARRY HRYB: Awesome.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's the news.
LARRY HRYB: We talked about-- earlier in the show when I talked to Sarah Bond, we were talking about [email protected] And by the way, go watch the video, the fireside chat with her and Phil. It's really quite amusing. But we were talking about [email protected] games-- yes, Jeff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Continue, but there's one other thing to talk about.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, go ahead and do that, because I was setting up to get ready to talk to Rebecca about [email protected] games.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We're recording this before Friday. But tomorrow, which will be yesterday, when you're listening to this, Halo on Paramount Plus will have launched.
LARRY HRYB: Yes.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So that's something. And let's look forward to talking about that next week. So when you hear this, if you're like, oh, when was that launched? It launched. So go ahead, and you'll want to check that out. So episode 1, the pilot, I guess--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Nice.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --will definitely hit.
LARRY HRYB: And if you're a Game Pass subscriber, Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you can get a free month of Paramount Plus. And they've got details on that they'll post on the Game Pass Twitter handle. So @XboxGamePass. So check that out. You want to hear something that 15-year-old me would be incredibly disappointed in?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Do tell.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Maybe?
LARRY HRYB: I got an email last week from Paramount Pictures, inviting me to walk the red carpet for this, but I couldn't go down and do it, because we're recording the show.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, you could have went.
REBECCA GORDIUS: We could have moved things around
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We would have figured it out.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Don't put this on us. No, no, no.
LARRY HRYB: No, no, I'm not putting it on you. I'm not-- no, no, no, no, no. I don't-- let's be clear. I'm not blaming you both at all. It's just, between the show and a bunch of other obligations, I wasn't able to go. I would have loved to have gone, but it just didn't work out. So I'm bummed.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: They wouldn't let you walk the red carpet in your sweatpants--
LARRY HRYB: I had my hair done and everything.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --is what it was.
LARRY HRYB: I was ready to go.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Shorts, shorts.
LARRY HRYB: I had a shirt on.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Your jorts.
LARRY HRYB: In my jorts.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's jorts weather right now in LA. It's real warm.
LARRY HRYB: We were talking to Sarah earlier on about [email protected] games and things like that. And last week, we asked a question. Rebecca, what was the question? Do you recall?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. So last week, as we were talking about-- we've been talking about [email protected] games a lot. But last week, we asked the community, what's your favorite [email protected] game? There's always so many great games coming to Game Pass. It's good to kind of hear from all of you, what are the best options? I mean, I personally, when I open Game Pass, there are just so many games. And so it's helpful to hear from you about what you think is best. And then that can kind of help guide us.
So there were a couple of really clear winners. One is Artful Escape, which I've started, but I haven't finished it. I'm notorious for starting and not finishing games. So thank you to the [INAUDIBLE].
LARRY HRYB: Johnny Galvatron, big fan of ours.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, how could we forget?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Friend of the show.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, friend of the show.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Also, some submissions for TUNIC. Thank you, Alfredo, Bill Roberts. Also, Nobody Saves the World, who we had them on the show. The Pedestrian, which Larry has been perpetually hyping up. And I think that's on my list of one of the ones to try. Is that one on Game Pass?
LARRY HRYB: Yes.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Nice, nice.
LARRY HRYB: For now.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Also, Parker had submitted Session. Mithril Fox said Lake and said thanks to Game Pass for trying it. Because I think a lot of these games, it's like you might not have heard of them. They might seem a little obscure. But then there's always so many options in Game Pass. There is no penalty for trying it. So I think Game Pass has really opened up the door for a lot of independent developers to showcase their work on on Xbox, which is really incredible.
LARRY HRYB: A lot of fun.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Also The Gunk from Matt Atkinson, which I can also say is another great [email protected] game on Game Pass. So yeah. Thanks, everyone, for your submissions. Unfortunately-- well, fortunately for me-- I'm actually going to be on vacation next week. So no question this week. But I'll hit you with one when I get back.
LARRY HRYB: All right. Yeah, we can do that. And if you're wondering, wait a minute, did I miss this? Yeah. If you listen on Spotify, you can go over there. And if you listen on Spotify, you scroll down. And we have a question. You can pop it in there and you can just enter it in. And then Rebecca and I look at it and take a look and try to give you a shout out. It's pretty straightforward.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: Are you-- that's right. I totally forgot you're not going to be with us next week, Rebecca. But we'll line--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, no worries.
LARRY HRYB: --someone up to try to fill your shoes.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, please do.
LARRY HRYB: Maybe I'll just go ahead and put Malik over in the right-and box, then, so he's--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. Substitute host.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Even if he's not here, you can put up the [INAUDIBLE].
LARRY HRYB: So good. Anyway, all right, gang. Well, we'll wrap it up. Jeff, anything you want to say to offer some words of wisdom from your Elden Ring universe over there?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Don't give up. Use your summons.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I know.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You got-- hang in there, baby.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Hang in there.
LARRY HRYB: How about you, Rebecca? Anything you want to say before we wrap up?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Nope, all good. Just, I'll see you guys in a couple of weeks.
LARRY HRYB: All right. Well, have a nice--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We were calling out Larry. Rebecca and I were talking. We're like, Larry, don't tee us up to just say something we were not expecting it.
LARRY HRYB: That's OK.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And you did it, you did it.
LARRY HRYB: I spend a lot of time-- I feel like I talk too much. And I always want to make sure you both have a chance. So I just want to make sure that I'm not-- that you have a moment to, as we like to say in the corporate world, give you space.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, thank you for that. We'll just happily talk over you. Why change now?
LARRY HRYB: All right, everybody, thanks again. Jeff and I'll be back next week. Rebecca will be back in a few weeks. We've got some nice stuff lined up for you. And we'll talk to you later, everybody. And make sure you subscribe, like, drop some comments down there in the YouTube channel, let us know what you think. Rebecca, is your mom still reading them?
REBECCA GORDIUS: I think she's starting to give up. She kind of comes back every now and then. After the International Women's Day episode, they had a lot of, I'll say, constructive feedback for me. So now, I think I'm going to be a little bit less like, here, this week's episode posted. Go watch it.
LARRY HRYB: So, I'm sorry, your family had constructive feedback? Or was it the commenters?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, her and my dad both. They went through the comments and they also gave me a lot of feedback about my performance. Some of it was good. Some of it was constructive.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Wow. I would hate to hear what your mom thinks about my performance on my show.
LARRY HRYB: Likewise.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You did great last week.
REBECCA GORDIUS: No, she loves you guys. It's just me. You know?
LARRY HRYB: That's OK. Well, she can give us feedback as well.
REBECCA GORDIUS: OK.
LARRY HRYB: She's welcome to do that. Anyway, all right, everybody. Have a great week of gaming. We'll catch up online. You can catch us on social. You see it here on the bottom there. If you want to follow Rebecca or Jeff or myself, you know how to find us on Twitter. Start @MajorNelson. I follow both Jeff and Rebecca. And you can hit them up there. Rebecca's got a lot of great photos she posts of food. And Jeff, it's usually all around European football and coffee.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Correct.
LARRY HRYB: And now Elden Ring, so. All right, everybody.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Big international weekend.
LARRY HRYB: Talk to you guys soon. Have a great weekend. Bye bye, everybody.