Host, Xbox's Major Nelson
Multiplayer Creative Director, 343 Industries
Principal Software Engineer, GXP
ANNOUNCER: Games in this podcast range from E to M.
LARRY HYRB: Hi. It's Larry Hryb, Xbox's Major Nelson. Welcome to The Official Xbox Podcast. Thank you for liking, subscribing, and hitting that little notification button on whatever device you're on. We've got the full gang here. And if I hit this button here, they'll come. Boom. Hello, everybody.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Good button pushing.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Hello! [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: Hello.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, nice work.
LARRY HYRB: We're back. We're back. I know some would say we're back in our boxes where we belong. Last week, we were live in studio. But now we're back in our individual boxes. It's great to see you. Hopefully, Rebecca, you had a safe trip back to New York City.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, it was so nice to see you guys, though. I know-- really far, plus three hours. Yeah, it was awesome hanging out with you guys last week. I really enjoy doing the in-person podcast. I just feel like it's so much easier for us to talk without that little, like, oh, is he going to say something?
LARRY HYRB: That transcontinental lag? [CHUCKLES]
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. Oh, and I wanted to mention, if anyone missed it last week, we do try to tweet out a day or two in advance. So if you want to follow us on our social so that you can catch our live episode next time and chat with us, please do so.
LARRY HYRB: There they all are.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It was-- yeah, it was cool seeing all the chats, so.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Landed the plug. Anyone working on a book or a movie they want to promote?
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: Yes, in fact, both of those. But we'll talk-- no, we'll talk about that later. We've got--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, if you don't write a book eventually, it will be very--
LARRY HYRB: Everybody says I should write a book. I've already got kind of the outline of what it should be. And I've got an interesting working title.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You're halfway there.
LARRY HYRB: I'm going to sell you on that.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I feel like it has to be an audio book, at least.
LARRY HYRB: Ooh.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Because you have such a great voice.
LARRY HYRB: Oh, you're very kind.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It would just be such a shame to have to read and imagine your voice.
LARRY HYRB: I'll put it up on Audible as-- maybe that's the only way it's available is an audio book.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah! Did you have a working title? I feel like you've got--
LARRY HYRB: I don't want to talk about it. But I do have a little bit of a working title. So we'll just leave it at that. We're not--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Is it called This is Xbox Live's Major Nelson? Is it?
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHING] Yeah, that seems fitting.
LARRY HYRB: Anyway--
REBECCA GORDIUS: All right. Sorry, Larry. [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: No, that's great. No, I'm just glad we got--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That was it.
LARRY HYRB: We got everybody back together. We're going to talk a little bit about what we're playing. I'll start with Jeff because I think if we go full screen on-- you can kind see what you and I are playing. And that is-- ta-da!
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. We got into season two. You see those numbers are really low because it just-- we record this in the middle of the week. So it's been less than a day. But we are hopped in. It was great playing the new modes, had a good time with King of the Hill except for the times where we really got stomped. You really know who is the better team very quickly, I would say.
LARRY HYRB: Well, wait a minute. It's not fair because our first game-- we were just figuring it out because there's new dynamics and so forth. The second game, boom, we nailed it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, we did. And then you left, and then we played, like, three more and lost all three. So you just-- you know very quickly if you're outclassed is what I would say.
LARRY HYRB: Well, let's be clear. The irony is I had to leave to get ready to prepare for the interview about Halo that we're going to play later on. [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, so we're looking forward to hearing from Tom French later today to talk about season 2, Lone Wolves, which is now available for Halo Infinite. And I hope you talk about this other mode, which I ended up playing after everyone else went to bed. I was playing a little later, playing Last Spartan.
LARRY HYRB: You were playing by yourself or playing with yourself?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, which is sort of like a mini solo Battle Royale, in a way, where there is one last Spartan standing at the end. And--
LARRY HYRB: And there's actually a zone that closes in on you, if I recall correctly.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Exactly, not as quickly. You have a set amount of lives. And so it's not like you you're taken out once, and you're gone. It's definitely not a traditional Battle Royale by any means, but there's definitely things in common with it.
And so once your lives are gone, then you're down to one. And then there will be, at the end, one last Spartan standing. It was never me. But it was really cool.
LARRY HYRB: Did you get close?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, here's the other part because when you think of a Battle Royale, it's like, oh, you land, and then you're looking, and there's a luck element in terms of finding weapons and stuff like that. Instead, here you start off with two pistols, both the-- and I'll get the name wrong but the-- electrical pistol and--
LARRY HYRB: The one that's essential that I found to be useless? [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: It's a fly swatter. [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: One man's trash? [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, exactly. And then once you get your first limb, then you hold down X. You can level up. And then you move up to the brute pistol--
LARRY HYRB: Right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --the one with the blades on the end. And then after that, it moves up again. And you get the AR.
LARRY HYRB: Fun.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And then after that, you can get the BR. Anyway, so the further it goes, the more well-armed everybody is. And anyway, I found that really fun. I think I'll be playing a lot of that. But it is a solo mode. So it's one of those things where when I'm waiting for everyone else to get online. Or if we all drop off, I'll be jumping into that. At some point, I have to get a win. Statistically, it has to happen.
LARRY HYRB: Good. Well, that's fun. Check that out. Well, we're going to talk all about the Halo, Season 2, Lone Wolves later on. As you said, I have some time with Tom Wolf that I was able to chat with him about-- Tom Wolf? What does that mean? Lone Wolves, Tom French.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Lone Wolves, Tom French.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Very good. Pardon his French.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Both names sound nice.
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes. Two other games just really want to talk about quickly. Both are part of Xbox Game Pass and recently released. One is Bugsnax. We had talked about that. This is a strange game.
LARRY HYRB: I played it!
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. All right, well, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Me too. [CHUCKLES]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: OK. Great. All I could think of is French fry spider. That's what has stuck in my head.
LARRY HYRB: Well, I will say I played it. But we have a clip here, Rebecca, because you played it as well. But it looks like you played it a lot longer than I. Should I roll that clip?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Let's see it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Sure. It's a very basic clip. This is, like-- yeah, OK. So I just wanted to take a clip of something--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You're harvesting ketchup.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I thought the ketchup crawler was kind of cute. Yeah. So with this one, what's its name, Bunger? It's a little hamburger animal bug. And it really loves ketchup. I wish you could hear the audio because it's like, bunger, bunger, bunger. [LAUGHS] That's the noise it makes.
[GAME SOUND EFFECTS]
Oh, sure, let me voice the animal and then add the audio.
CHARACTER (IN GAME): Thanks, stranger.
LARRY HYRB: Let's go back to the-- let's play that again. Hold on. Let's play that again.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: There. There it is. [LAUGHS] There it is. Yeah. [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: All right. Can you guys please rate my imitation of the Bunger? It's pretty good, right?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: One more time.
LARRY HYRB: I thought it was great.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Bunger, bunger. [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: Perfect.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I give it four ketchup packets out of five.
LARRY HYRB: Yes. [CHUCKLES]
REBECCA GORDIUS: Thank you. All right. That works. Yeah, so I wanted to try this one out after we talked about it on the show last week because it just came to Game Pass. And I absolutely loved Viva Piñata, I think, summer of 2010 or something like that. That was just all that I did. That's not when it came out. I played it a couple years later-- 360 back at the time. But--
LARRY HYRB: Explain what Bugsnax is because a lot of people from that clip may not get it. It's a resource game. Talk about it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: So that's the problem. It's kind of weird.
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: Someone else described on a meeting I was in on--
LARRY HYRB: One person's problem, another person's treasure. [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: (LAUGHING) Yeah. So someone else tried to describe it on Monday in a meeting that I was in. And she said it's part Viva Piñata but part kind of not Cannibal, but it's kind of macabre-- "mah-cob," "mah-carb?"
LARRY HYRB: Dark.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It's bizarre in a kind of dark way. So what attracted it to me was I thought it was going to be kind of like Viva Piñata, which was this really cute Xbox 360 game, where you were on this animal. And you tried to get different--
LARRY HYRB: From Rare.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, so good. You tried to get different piñatas to meet with each other. And you got like little prizes, and you took care of a yard. And it was really nice.
So this one is kind of similar, in that there's different animals, like, bugs. But each of the bugs are snacks. So the Bunger was obviously a hamburger. And then he's really attracted to the ketchup.
But it's kind of dark. You kind of go around doing these tasks for the inhabitants of this island. And it's almost a mystery because you're trying to find the woman who-- or the person who invited you there. But then you're kind of dealing with the residents along the way.
So I actually haven't finished the game. So I don't the whole mystery yet. But the kind of dark part of it is that you catch the snacks. And then you feed them to the residents. And then the residents will start to turn into the snack. And it's--
LARRY HYRB: Disturbing? [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: --kind of-- [LAUGHS] Yeah. Do you remember? Yes! So I don't know if I'm going to finish this game. I was like, oh, I thought it was going to be cute and light like Viva Piñata. But it's a little dark. I don't know. I don't know.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So your legs to turn into strawberries, and your arm to turn it to a french fry?
LARRY HYRB: So that begs the question, which we're not prepared-- that you guys are not prepared. This is fully unscripted. Jeff, what would you be turning into? What do you eat a lot of, and what would you turn into? [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: One could debatably say that having not been able to go into a gym for the last two years, my arms have already turned into noodles.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And so that's a very good-- I should probably be wearing long sleeves until I rectify that situation. I would say-- yeah, I really do eat a lot of noodles. So--
LARRY HYRB: You do.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So why don't we just-- why don't we just go with udon noodle limbs is where I would probably land.
LARRY HYRB: Now, Rebecca, what would you turn into? Because every time I look on your Instagram, you're at some fantastic meal, or at least it photographs well. Tell me what you would be.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. Honestly, noodles are my favorite. So Jeff, thank you for stealing that one which is why my gamertag is Grumpy Ramen. [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: That's right.
REBECCA GORDIUS: But I actually don't eat that much ramen these days because now that I'm getting older, I'm like, oh, it's not that healthy. I would probably turn into pizza or tacos. Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: But those are healthy, yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: See, that--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Sorry, I'm kind of contradictory.
LARRY HYRB: Now, Rebecca you stole mine because I was going to say I'd turn into a pizza. But you stole mine. So Jeff stole yours. You stole mine. And that's just the way it goes.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Back to the Larry saying it's unscripted, we should have talked through this at some point.
LARRY HYRB: But it's just really-- anyway, so back to Bugsnax. [CHUCKLES]
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. I just had one more thought. I think the reason I don't want to play is because I don't want to the answer to this question. But it's, like, so as you help the residents, they start to-- and you give them snacks-- they turn it into those snacks. And I'm wondering, are the snacks that are around, are those previously people that--
LARRY HYRB: Soylent green! It's people!
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's what I was thinking, Soylent Green! Yeah. So I'm like, oh, this is too much for me. So I don't know. But you guys played it?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I thought the same thing. I was just wondering, how far is this going to go? Because one person's like-- you feed them. And it's funny because your character, who's a journalist, very much recoils when that first person-- the mayor's leg turns into a strawberry. And you're like, you want more? OK.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And, yeah, it's disturbing. But it's fun. And so I like the idea that it was, like-- there's puzzle solving. So to catch the Bunger-- the Bunger is too powerful for this trap that you have. So you have to use the ketchup to make another Bunger so that they knock each other out. And then you can capture them.
So I can imagine that that's going to progress. And the puzzle-solving element seemed really fun. And I would say it feels a lot of effort went into the sound design on this.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, yeah.
LARRY HYRB: Bunga, bunga bunga.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's in your head. And so, anyway, well done. I think I'll keep playing it until at some point, I get entirely too disturbed.
LARRY HYRB: Bugsnax, check it out now on Game Pass. [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: One more new to Game Pass that came out this week-- so Bugsnax hit last week. Loot River is now available as part of--
LARRY HYRB: (SINGING TO TUNE OF "MOON RIVER") Loot River--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, that's the theme song. How did you know? Loot River was described-- I want to say it was Paris Lily on Twitter called a mixture of Dark Souls and Tetris. And I was like, what?
LARRY HYRB: What?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And that's actually a really good description. So it is a top-down, I would say, pixel-art action game, where the controls are very much in the vein of a Souls with bright bumpers, a quick attack, and right triggers, more of a heavy attack. And you dodge with A. And so a lot of those same moves. But it is top down.
The Tetris part is all the game that I've played so far takes place on these floating platforms on the eponymous Loot River, one would imagine. And when you're on a platform, you can steer it using the D-pad. And so what you do is--
LARRY HYRB: That's the Tetris angle? Is that what you--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Exactly. So sometimes you have to figure out, how do I make this platform be able to continue moving? That platform has enemies on it. Well, how can I orient it in such a way that the enemies will-- I'll be able to control when I engage with the enemy. So they're all maybe funneled into a line or something like that instead of just blundering into a situation that I'm not going to win.
So challenging game, even, and then really a lot of elements that are Souls. So when you die you go into this town. You can level up over time and acquire new weapons and things like that. And, yeah, it seems really interesting and some good buzz on that one. So Loot River, check it out, part of Game Pass. It's waiting for you. And you've already got access to it.
LARRY HYRB: We kind of seamlessly-- by the way, Jeff, well done. We seamlessly went to what we're playing kind of right into the new section. It was-- in case you missed it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, what else are you playing? I would love to hear.
LARRY HYRB: No, that's kind of it. Halo-- we talked about Halo. We talked about Bugsnax. I think that's kind of all that I'm playing right now. It's been fun. I've been waiting for-- oh, last week, I did some Sea of Thieves in the Pirate Legend event they were doing. So did that with a bunch of us. And that was a three-hour voyage on Saturday night that really--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Three-hour tour--
LARRY HYRB: It was rather-- it was fun.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --if we want to make a '70s reference.
LARRY HYRB: It was fun. That was just fun stuff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So just to keep it on the Sea of Thieves topic here, the next event they're going to be doing is a Community Day. And that's going to be on May 14, so next weekend, depending on when you're listening to this. And there will be Twitch drops if you watch the streamers that are participating.
There'll be login bonuses, in-game sales, and in a renown a multiplier that climbs as you tweet. So Rare team's always thinking of interesting ways to make the game more social and have that lead to rewards within the game. And you'll see that in a really big way with the Sea of Thieves Community Day, May 14.
LARRY HYRB: Have you seen the Sea of Thieves merchandise they have?
REBECCA GORDIUS: No, is it cute?
LARRY HYRB: Oh, well, they've got the standard stuff, the shirts and the hats. But they have-- and I've asked for them to send me one so I can show it off-- a Sea of Thieves version of Monopoly.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Really?
LARRY HYRB: Yeah!
REBECCA GORDIUS: Wow! OK.
LARRY HYRB: And I was like-- I was really impressed. It's called the Sea of Thieves-- and actually it looks like it's at Walmart, too, for those of you in the US. But I was thinking about--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Do you go to the brig-- go directly to the brig, do not pass Go?
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: It looks like-- yeah. No, it looks like you still have to go free park-- although, free parking in Sea of Thieves, I don't know what that means. But, yeah, you should go to the brig.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Free moorage.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Docking?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: Free moorage, I like that.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS] Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's where they really get you.
LARRY HYRB: Before we get into the interviews, Rebecca, you had a little bit of something you want to talk about right off the bat, right?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. So this month is a cultural moment near and dear to my heart. This month is Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Last year, I had on the co-leads of Asians at Xbox just to chat about what we were doing through the month, and that was really great.
If you're curious about how you can support the Asian and Pacific Islander American communities in the US, head over to Xbox Wire. As usual, we have a few different ways that people can donate their Microsoft rewards points to organizations that are helping Asian and Pacific Islander communities within the US. Next week, we have a bunch of Twitch streams featuring Asian and Pacific Islander creators.
They're going to be doing takeovers on the Xbox Twitch channel, which is super cool. The last thing I wanted to mention is just that there's also a collection of like entertainment that's either created by Asian Pacific Islander folks or featuring protagonists telling different Asian Pacific Islander stories, one of which that will probably come as no surprise is Life is Strange-- True Colors is up there, along with a bunch of other different games and movies. I personally haven't played Life is Strange-- True Colors. I've been hearing amazing things. So that is on my to-play list this weekend, so.
LARRY HYRB: Sweet.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yep.
LARRY HYRB: Sweet. Jeff, what do you got for-- you got some couple of highlights before we get into the interviews.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, there's quite a few actually.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, let's roll into it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So slow down. Let's enjoy ourselves here.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: You know what? Let's take a breath.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Easy, easy. [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, Larry we're not-- are you renting out your office afterwards? Like, I got to get out of here. They're going to be doing to be doing a Monopoly
LARRY HYRB: No, I'm respectful because you guys-- both of you have tremendously stressful and important and busy regular jobs. And I want to make sure you can get back to do those jobs.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, sometimes we're hanging out with you. And we're pretending to be you for an hour.
REBECCA GORDIUS: So sweet.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So let us enjoy the luxurious life of Major Nelson.
LARRY HYRB: Go ahead.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Is that-- wait, is that the book? Is that the book title? It should be.
LARRY HYRB: Lux.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So we're going to-- one of the guests is going to be Tom French, who was the multiplayer lead for Halo Infinite. And he'll be talking about season 2, Lone Wolves, a lot of information there over on Xbox Wire and, of course, over on Halo Waypoint. We're having a lot of fun with it, but you'll learn a lot more here in a minute.
Also, you're going to be speaking to someone about the May update. New features and functionality coming to both your Xbox console and to the associated--
LARRY HYRB: If I say QoS, do you tilt your head and go, what? You're going to learn about QoS, among many other things as well.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Absolutely.
REBECCA GORDIUS: "QoS-sont?"
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Ooh, I like where you're going with this.
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: I was talking French. I'm sorry. [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: Look at this. Way to connect the dots.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So-- oh, I didn't even. You guys are smart. You're all real smart. So let's talk about Xbox Game Pass. So I did mention Loot River. A couple of other games coming this week. One is--
[SIRENS AND HORN HONKING]
Oh, we got a little bit in New York. Love it.
LARRY HYRB: Thank you. Thank you. [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Eiyuden Chronicle Rising, which is a predecessor to a future RPG that's going to be coming out called Eiyuden Chronicle. There's going to be some really interesting connections between the two. I'll be playing that. That's out next week.
But the date was confirmed this week. And so we'll be talking more about it. I actually might be doing a stream. That'll be on May 10.
By the time you listen to this, though, if you've ever played Trek to Yomi, which is a cinematic game where you get to live your best samurai life-- which may also be another title of Larry's book. And then Citizen Sleeper, which looks really interesting, it's a classic tabletop RPG, an action RPG with a space-faring story. You're on the run from a corporation, like you do, that owns your artificial body. This really reminds me a lot of Cyberpunk at this point.
You build alliances. You hack into the station. And you find secrets. So there's that and more available this week and next week with Xbox Game Pass. And oh, yeah, Danganrompa 2, if you know what that means, you're like, oh, this is awesome that it's out on Xbox. And if you don't know what it means, you can check it out because it's part of Game Pass. So you don't need me. You can just try it.
Really interesting addition to Xbox Cloud Gaming, one of the biggest games of the world, Fortnite-- Battle Royale, is now available wherever you are. If you've got access to a browser, and you go to xbox.com/play, there is across 26 countries as part of the Xbox Cloud Gaming beta, you could play Fortnite . And you don't need to even be a subscriber to anything. You just basically sign in with your Xbox ID, and it's there.
And we have an article with some more details over on Xbox Wire. But this is the first free-to-play game, entirely free-to-play game to be available through Cloud Gaming. And team is investigating, and potentially doing some more.
LARRY HYRB: And I'll have-- I think I'll have someone on from the xCloud team next week to talk a little bit about what that means. So stay tuned.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Stay tuned. But if you're hearing this right now, and you're like, oh, I'm on the road; I would like to play Fortnite where I'm at with touch controls, xbox.com/play. Works on iOS. Works on Android. Works on browsers. Works wherever you're at. So very cool.
Next up, the Deep Pink Xbox wireless controller is announced this week and is now available for $64.99. Here's the pitch on this one. It's beautiful.
LARRY HYRB: It's pink.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's it. It just looks awesome.
LARRY HYRB: It's deep pink.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's really nice. I really want it. During the Xbox One generation, we had a dusk, a dusky pink. It was a similar color. But then it had a--
LARRY HYRB: Gradient.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: What would you call it? An ombre, a gradient that went into dark.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, I remember that, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I haven't-- actually, I probably have it over here. And that was nice. But I think this one, just the solid color of the Deep Pink, it's just beautiful. Hopefully we're looking at pictures of that as opposed to me describing something that looks really good.
LARRY HYRB: Show the pictures.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Also, something that looks really good-- it's something that you can win, can't buy. We created a series of a LEGO Star Wars Skywalker Saga Xbox Series X consoles. We talked about this game frequently over the course of the last month or so, really cool reinvention of the LEGO Star Wars series, with tons and tons of content. Well, there are now a series of, during the sweepstakes, of consoles that you can win, each one focusing on--
LARRY HYRB: A series of Series S.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Exactly. Everything from, like-- there's a Darth Maul one that is black and red, like you would imagine, and a Kylo Ren, also black and red. But then-- let's see-- a Yoda one that's green and a stormtrooper one that's white. And it just looks really cool. So--
LARRY HYRB: Because it was the 4th last week.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, yes, May the 4th! Followed by Cinco de Mayo, which this is one of the more celebratory weeks, I would say. We should really have the whole week off. I think that's--
REBECCA GORDIUS: I agree.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --not out of--
LARRY HYRB: Lightsaber--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Not unreasonable.
LARRY HYRB: Lightsaber-shaped nachos.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes. And for Cinco de Mayo, you'll want to check out Forza Rising 5, by the way, where there's some new colorful decorations throughout the city. There's some--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Ooh, very
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --really cool stuff as part of Series 7-- new murals, things of that nature. Last thing I want to call out-- really wish I was there. But we talked about Miami. This is the first-- this weekend, the first Miami Grand Prix in several years. That was definitely a thing when I lived there back in the '90s.
LARRY HYRB: So did you actually go to the Miami Grand Prix?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No. You couldn't get anywhere near it because it was like-- it's like-- I was, like, 12. I couldn't drive down there.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So here's the cool thing about it. We have teamed up with Alpine, which is one of the F1 teams, and we're calling it the Fast Track to PC Game Pass Challenge. So there's an F1 car on the Alpine team, where we have put a series of QR codes on it.
And so as you're watching the race, whether you're going in person or you're watching on TV, as these cars go by that have the QR code, if you can scan it, you might be able to win a month-three, three-month, or six-month Xbox Game Pass subscription.
LARRY HYRB: [IMITATES CARS RACING PAST]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So, yes, I hope your phone--
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS] Yeah, good luck.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --is charged.
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I hope you've got your high-resolution-- you've got your big-screen TV. It would be really interesting to see. If you do end up scoring three months of Game Pass, let us know.
LARRY HYRB: Let us know.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I just think it's a really fun--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --idea. But it'll be on the A522 cars. There's two of them and-- just waiting to be scanned. So good luck to you, and good luck to team Alpine at the Miami Grand Prix.
LARRY HYRB: Fun! What else you got?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: More? What more? We've got QR codes on race cars, Larry. That's where I peek.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: I guess that's pretty-- well, why don't we do this. Why don't we-- I've got the interviews cued up, Jeff. So can you bring us into those interviews so we can learn more about Halo and networking?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Sure. First thing we're going to do is talk to Tom French. As we mentioned, he's the multiplayer creative director for Halo Infinite, talking all about Lone Wolves, which is Halo Infinite's season 2. And then we're going to be talking to Darrin Veit about what-- what is QoS? I don't know what QoS is. Darrin Veit, please let us because we have it now.
LARRY HYRB: Halo Infinite, Season 2, Lone Wolves is on this week. Joining me is the amazing Mr. Tom French. We had on at the launch last year. Tom, welcome back to the show.
TOM FRENCH: Thanks for having me back, sir. It's good to see you again.
LARRY HYRB: It has been-- it's great to see you. It's been a great, let's see, six months, five months? You guys have been-- it's been many years. But I'm just saying it's been in the public hands for five or six months now, depending upon if you want to include the technical multiplayer action.
TOM FRENCH: Yeah. It's good to get the game out there. It's good to get another season under our belt and kind of keep the team moving. We're doing a lot of planning and design work and just constantly trying to make the game better and improve things for the players.
LARRY HYRB: And for those folks that haven't had a chance to check it out yet, let's go through some of the things because this update's fairly substantial. You've got new modes, new maps. You've certainly done a lot of tweaks to the core gameplay. But tell us-- let's start off right off with the new maps because they're looking pretty great.
TOM FRENCH: Yeah, I'm pretty excited about the new maps. There's two new maps. So there's Breaker, which is a-- it's kind of a smaller scale BTB map. But one of the things we're really excited about that map was we've been wanting to get more dynamic elements into the map. And so this map has this giant laser that cuts through the level.
It's on a timer. And it pivots back and forth. And it crosses a big giant chasm. So it creates this fun little risk-reward loop, especially when you're playing, like, Capture the Flag, if you're loading up your Warthog with your buddies and you're trying to race back home with your flag. You have that little risk moment, if that laser is up, that you get your Warthog snagged and exploded halfway across it.
So it's just kind of a fun-- and it creates-- what I love about it is that it kind of encompasses the theme of the map, right? You feel the vibe of this thing. And it's this big, giant banished play space. And it's got really cool lanes. It's kind of a three-lane map.
But it just fun. It has the themes really baked in. The environment's really interesting to move around. And then our arena map is Catalyst, which is a symmetrical flag map, which is great. We really needed more flag maps in our game. It was something we really wanted to get out there.
Our designer Tyler, that designed the map, I think did a great job. It has really interesting flows to it. It has this bridge across the center of it, the top center of it, that's a high-risk, high-reward moment. You can take the flag directly from your base to the other base in a straight bee line. But you're a big sitting duck target in the middle of it.
And I think it has some really cool dynamics to just the way that changes the shift of a match and how you flow through it and how you make decisions about how you use the space to kind of run a flag or play an objective like that. There's all kinds of just interesting nooks and crannies. And on top of that, I think the art came out incredible.
It's gorgeous. It's old, ancient forerunner. It's kind of stunning to look at when you're playing.
LARRY HYRB: I have to tell you. I played a little bit of Breaker last night in Big Team Battle, which I love going into. And this is a map you really need to spend some time with. There's a lot of verticality to it. I was really stunned at-- there's a lot of little ledges you can clamber up on.
There's some areas you can jump over to. There's this whole area down below, which most of our battle action was taking place at the surface level. But there is a lot of activity down below, right?
TOM FRENCH: Yeah, that map's got layers to it, which is something I really love, especially that top center area, right? There's a big kind of open courtyard where the laser's cutting through. And there's the catwalks going on each side. So that's kind of the high-intensity combat area. But there's definitely a little avenues to duck out, go scavenge, find gear and loot and kind of work your way around or flank enemy positions.
LARRY HYRB: Now, we've also got-- there's a new battle pass. We'll talk about that in a minute. But you've also got a couple of new game modes that some may be familiar to Halo fans. Some may not be. You've tweaked some things. Tell us about the new game modes.
TOM FRENCH: Yeah. So there's three main core game modes this season. There's King of the Hill, which is kind or a return of the classic. We definitely put a little bit of an Infinite twist on it. One of the things that when our designers are working on that was thinking about classically it was what we would call a drip score. So every moment you're standing on the hill you get a point.
And what it created was these kind of snowball moments. And we also didn't want-- we want to have these kind of definitive scoring moments in Infinite where you know very discreetly where the team scores. And so we changed it from the drip-score model to you fill up a meter, and then your team scores a point. So you have that very definitive scoring moment.
So it changes the twist of the flow of a match. It's not overly drastic. It's still basically the same amount of points to win.
LARRY HYRB: It's more of an evolution.
TOM FRENCH: Yeah. like I said, we kind of like to put little twists on it. And then you can play the classic version, the drip score model version in custom games and things like that. Last Spartan Standing's a new mode that our designer Zach built that I think is-- I think it came out really great.
We wanted to build-- to fit the theme of the season, we wanted to have something that's really about being a lone wolf, right? And so it's a referral mode. We've built it on our BTB maps to kind of give a little bit of extra breadth and space.
And then that led us support up to 12 players. 23 players we tried, and it was just way too chaotic. But then when you play it, it's really about you. And then we tried to take-- learning from some of the twists that we had with, like, Attrition and things like that, or even if you look at a Battle Royale game, that kind of elimination feeling. So we have things-- we brought the Danger Zone from Attrition.
And then to prevent people from turtling, there's basically of what in Halo would be called escalation or a gun game mechanic from other games. So we kind of encouraged players to go out and fight. Because if they fight, they earn personal score. And personal score fills up or completes levels. And when you complete levels, you can switch your load out and kind of play with a different gun, which is super fun.
And it's a different twist on things. And it creates these really fun-- these elimination moments and that kind of triumphing-up-the-ladder kind of feel. I played it for about four hours last night and got some good games in. Finally got my W, which was good, so.
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS] Now, there's a whole other things in your patch notes. I'm looking at the patch notes right now at support.halowaypoint.com. You've worked on bots. There's one that was actually interesting, some player outline options, which I really liked, because we've had that-- you had the option, or you've always had the option to kind of decide what colors are the enemies, the good guys, and the bad guys, or the enemies and your team. But Now you can kind of put an outline on them, right?
TOM FRENCH: Yeah, some players for accessibility reasons couldn't see the outlines as well. And so we wanted to kind of give them tools to tune and tweak them or just really to your personal liking. Some people want to turn them off. Some people want to have that-- they don't want the distraction of the UI kind of interfacing on there. So it just gives players choice and options to tune the game to how they want to play it.
LARRY HYRB: You've also done some weapon buffs and some-- I don't want to say nerf, because that's not fair. But you've kind of tweaked the weapons a little bit. I don't know if you could tell us a little bit about that as well.
TOM FRENCH: Yeah. Our sandbox team, we're looking at the-- constantly looking at the balance of the game and trying to figure out where can we improve a weapon? Where do we need to actually nerf a weapon or something like that. And so it's something we're constantly in a state of discussing.
And we're really looking to move to a model where we're actually kind of constantly kind of addressing concerns and balance issues of the game. So it's something that team is really working on building out a pipeline for how they're going to be doing that-- or not a pipeline, but the process for how we'll be constantly being able to look at what the community's doing and reacting and sometimes shifting the meta, sometimes just actually just fixing something that maybe wasn't intentional, or where we're seeing something in the wild, where people are doing something either that we didn't expect, or it's become overpowered or underpowered, for that matter.
LARRY HYRB: I have to ask you a question. Is there an internal term for the sword and the grapple meta? Because-- [LAUGHS]
TOM FRENCH: Yeah. One of the designers that worked on that, the grapple shot, his playtest, he was the grapple man. So it was always like, you got grapple manned. Or there's always some term about being grapple manned when you got killed with a grapple hook and any combination weapons.
LARRY HYRB: Good to know because I just what I want to get that out there. There's a lot of other things. We talked about some of the weapons. I also noticed that-- was it the Ravager? Did you guys buff up the Ravager a little bit? It feels like it's got a little bit more oomph to it.
TOM FRENCH: Yeah, the Ravager actually had some-- it was definitely underpowered when we launched. And so, yeah, the charge shot, the area-of-effect stuff is actually working better than it did at launch. And so it definitely feels buffer, and especially in our bigger maps, like Big Team Battle and stuff like that, or even in our social playlist. It's definitely something you want to kind of put your hands on a little bit more to get some kills.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah. Because I notice prior to the update, it was kind of in the camp-- because this weapon also exists in the campaign. In the campaign, the brutes were, like, one-shotting me from across the map. What is going on here? So hopefully I can have that similar level of accuracy. One of the other areas I noticed was some of the equipment, for instance, the shield feels like it deploys quicker. And it feels like it's more sturdier. Is that accurate?
TOM FRENCH: Yeah, trying to find the right balance for that thing in the game-- there's the competitive part of the game where you really got to be very sensitive to timing issues and things like that. And so they've done a lot of massaging. And I think they found a good spot to give-- we're just finding basically it was underutilized in the arena of multiplayer sandbox. And so we wanted to kind of move it towards a more balanced position so people are going to be using it and deploying it in combat more.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah. And I want to make sure it's the barrier that you can deploy. It's not your Spartan shield. I just wanted to make sure--
TOM FRENCH: Yeah,
LARRY HYRB: Leave me alone in the comments, gang. [LAUGHS] There's a ton of other improvements. One thing I noticed in the patch notes is my Xbox Series S now gets a frame rate increase.
TOM FRENCH: It's pretty awesome. That little box smokes. We've got one downstairs in my house, and I played on it-- I don't know. All over the Christmas break that was my main console. So, yeah, I love the fact that we can do that and really support those players that are looking for that high frame rate, especially when you're playing a sweaty multiplayer match, and you're using that box. You want to be competitive in that space.
LARRY HYRB: Again, I don't want to go through section by section. But the update is also obviously, on Xbox Series X and S on the console side. But you've also done the improvements on the PC side as well, right?
TOM FRENCH: Yeah. We're moving the needle everywhere in the game right now. The whole team is actively pulling the game forward and kind of fixing things here and fixing things there. So it's really about the total effort and the fact that we're really just trying to embrace PC as a primary platform for Halo in a big massive way. It's important to us to keep our players and fans playing the game.
LARRY HYRB: And I know we talked about the battle pass. And that's not really-- you're more of a game play. You've got a whole other team that works on the battle pass side of it. But there's all sorts of new cosmetics in the battle pass that you can unlock.
The game just keeps going on. It's funny because I was talking with some friends of mine. And I don't know if you see this, Tom, because I think you and I are on each other's friends list-- is I play this game probably every night for, like, 20, 30 minutes.
It's great to drop in with a Fiesta map or a couple of Big Team battles. And then everybody kind of goes their own way and goes back to Elden Ring. [LAUGHS]
TOM FRENCH: [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: But it's really been great to see what you guys have done over the past few months. And I know that Infinite, it says it in the name, Halo Infinite. You guys have a pretty long road map for the coming months and years. It's going to be quite a while, isn't it?
TOM FRENCH: Yeah, there's a lot we want to do at this game and that we want to keep evolving. And I think I'm excited about this season because there's a lot of things that we'll be doing to kind of keep the game alive dynamically. Like, we're going to be doing a lot more playlist updating. And you can see the Rumble Pit playlist that we launched last night is kind of a start to how we want to kind of flesh out our playlist story and have more interesting playlists for people to kind of dip their toe in if you want to go have a beer after work and go play a round of Oddball Slayer.
Or we have kind of more wacky variants in Rumble Pit. Like, there is ninjas-- it's called Ninja Slayer. So there's swords and grapple shots that you're flying around the map with, so trying to make sure we're catering to kind of a lot of different people with the game. But, yeah, we want to kind of keep churning that content and kind of keeping the game fresh and exciting and then building that roadmap towards the future of, like, what new game modes? What new maps will be coming? And kind of making sure we're plotting that and making sure that we're doing what's right for the game and also what's right by the community ultimately.
But just also, we want to make sure we're there. You ship the game. We're tired. We're kind of pulling ourselves back out of the muck a little bit. But we're really plodding ahead in what we want to be doing in the next couple of years of our lives.
LARRY HYRB: And what's also great is, like we've talked about in the past, this is a free-to-play game, first time a Halo multiplayer is free to play. So the barrier to entry for anyone who hasn't played is pretty low. Go in and check it out and see what it's all about. And there's probably a playlist for you, right?
You talked about all the wacky playlists. And of course, there's the standard Big Team and Slayer and so forth. But there's always something for you in that playlist. Just make sure you scroll up and down and find something, go shop around.
TOM FRENCH: Yeah, that's kind of what we want is we want-- we think about just personalities of players, right? And if you're just looking for something quick, your 30-minute experience-- you want to go in and romp around on big Team Battle-- or you want to do something a little more solo, there's definitely experiences across where you want to kind of grind and rank up in rank. There's something for you like when you dive into the game.
LARRY HYRB: I also want to point out that, for instance, you've got those two new maps that you talked about earlier. And one of the maps is a Big Team battle map. I assume you go into the Big Team battle hopper and kind of prioritize that it's going to show up more frequently since that's what people want to play. Is that accurate?
TOM FRENCH: Yeah, we did a lot of-- we call it-- playlist tuning this time around. We really put a lot of thought into like, OK, this is a new map, or this is a new mode. Players might be excited about just wanting to play the new thing? So how do we just put that up in its own playlist for a little while and let it be temporary up there?
Or the Breaker map, it's weighted higher. So you're getting higher chances. Or King of the Hill has a slightly extra buff on its weight. So it's going to roll into the mix a little bit more so you're seeing it more frequently.
LARRY HYRB: I have to tell you one of the-- I went through the entire patch notes. And it's amazing what you guys have done. The biggest disappointment for me, though, because as a Halo fan--
TOM FRENCH: Uh-oh.
LARRY HYRB: --you always got to be disappointed slightly with something, right?
TOM FRENCH: [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS]
TOM FRENCH: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: Is that prior to the update, there was a black screen something that you would randomly come across on loading getting into a match. And you could actually shoot and control your Spartan. And then when it would go to the cut scene of everybody getting ready, the ready-up area, your Spartan may be over 30 feet that way, turned around, looking at the ground.
It was kind of awesome. So I'm bummed that you patched it. But I understand why.
TOM FRENCH: Yeah. I think some of those things are funny, and they're charming. I think sometimes they're a little less charming to the people that work on the systems. They're, like, shaking their fist in madness. That one also, like, there's also competitive concerns to that.
Like, you could be off spawn and kind of in the wrong location, and put yourself in a weird spot. So sometimes quirks and bugs lead to some fun little things, and you patch them for reasons. So, yeah.
LARRY HYRB: Totally get it. But anyway, listen, Tom, I appreciate you coming on and talking about the season. It's amazing. Halo Infinite Season 2, Lone Wolves available now. Go check it out, Halo 2, multiplayer, free to play. Tom, always good to see you. Congratulations to you and the team on getting season 2 out there. And we'll have you on again soon, right?
TOM FRENCH: I'm hoping soon, yeah. And then hopefully I'll see you online tonight.
LARRY HYRB: Thanks.
TOM FRENCH: Cool. Talk to you later.
LARRY HYRB: Xbox Series X and S had a system update this week. And one of the interesting features was the quality-of-service tagging. And joining us right now from the Xbox team engineering is Darrin Veit. Darrin, good to see you.
DARRIN VEIT: Good to see you as well, Larry. Thanks for having me.
LARRY HYRB: Good. You and I have chatted a lot on email internally because I'm a kind of a network nerd, and you're a network-- way more expert nerdy than I am. But I wanted to talk a little bit about what this feature is. We announced it earlier this week as part of the May update.
And a lot of folks may be looking at this inside their settings. There's some other features as well, but specifically want to talk about the quality-of-service tagging. Tell us what that is and tell us a little more about that and what it means for gamers.
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah. So quality service tagging is a feature that you can enable on your console. And there's a couple of options. There's one. It's called DSEP tagging. And there's another is called WM tagging. So DSEP tagging is taking outbound network traffic for latency-sensitive applications like party chat, multiplayer and supported games. And essentially it's identifying the traffic to different network devices to say, hey, this is a latency-sensitive type application. And so on supported networks, what it can enable is that when you have network congestion, that it can actually take the packets that are tagged and put them to the front of the line to help them not be impacted by slowdowns, latency, loss, things like that you hit when you get network congestion.
LARRY HYRB: So do your point-- and we're going to walk through it on my console right here and how people turn it on and so forth. But to your point is that networks are complicated. People just plug it in and get an IP address and get a Wi-Fi signal. Then they're on their way.
But there's a lot going on behind the scenes, as you talked about, with network, packets, and things like that. And this allows the Xbox to basically tell whatever kind of network you have, if it's supported, that, hey, I've got some pretty important stuff here. Make sure you prioritize it versus maybe a family member in the other room watching a Netflix stream or browsing the internet, right? This kind of puts it to the top of the queue.
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah, that's a great scenario. And what you can think of it as is that under ideal situations, you shouldn't see much of a difference with QoS tagging turned on or off. But it's the times when you start having contention, like a wireless network environment, where the perfect example that I'm playing multiplayer game on my Xbox. And then all of a sudden, two or three folks in the same family network start streaming video and starts adding contention on the network.
And so in those scenarios that for WMM, for Wi-Fi, with that tagging enabled, it actually allows more time for the latency-sensitive traffic to actually communicate. And so in situations where you normally might see a slowdown or start seeing some lag within the game, it can actually protect from that happening.
LARRY HYRB: Let's go through the feature right now. So let me bring it up. This is actually my console on my Xbox Series S here on my desk. People, just once they take the system update, they're going to go into Settings. And then you can see I've got Network Settings right here at the top.
And then they have to go over to Advanced. Now, let's talk about some of these things. I've kind of blurred some things out here because I don't want people coming into my network. But we've got things, like, alternate MAC address. Tell us about that before we get down to the QoS tagging settings at the bottom. What are some of these things mean?
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah. So the alternate MAC address, it's been around for a while on Xbox. So this is primarily used for when you connect to managed networks. And so a lot of times, you can think of hotel network, hospital, where they have a allow listing based off of your MAC address.
And this would allow you to take a device that has already been allow listed on that network and clone its MAC address over to your Xbox so that it can join the network. We also added some functionality a while back that can detect-- it's called a captive portal.
LARRY HYRB: And I'm so excited about that feature because I don't know if you remember, but I was really pushing for that feature internally for a long time.
LARRY HYRB: Right below, we've got alternate path selection. Now, tell us what that is. Because right now you can see I'm on port 3074. So ports, just for a high level, ports are kind of exactly that. Their information goes through different ports in your network. So I think web browses at 80, correct? If memory serves correctly.
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah, I think one of the best analogies I heard was think of it like sending a letter to somebody, is that you've got your address and then your port. So you got your IP address would be, like, the address of the building. And the port would be, like, the apartment number. And so which door am I going to at that address?
And so the ultimate port selection, it's a handy feature for network environments that for one reason or another automatic port selection isn't working. And so 3074 is the port that is registered for Xbox. It's been around for a very long time, probably since the original Xbox, and so it's well known. But in networks where your console's unable to automatically map that port to your router and using UPnP, a lot of folks will do a workaround of doing port forwarding. Or port triggering is something that you may have heard to be able to open up your NAT type for multiplayer games.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah.
DARRIN VEIT: The alternate port selection allows you to fall back to a different port from the 3074. So if you have multiple Xbox consoles within a home network, where UPnP isn't working, you can set them up on different ports so that they're not colliding. You can set up a port forwarding rule for each individual console. So that's what that is for.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, so basically, if I have one console upstairs and one downstairs or another room, I can load one on 3074, one on 3088. And then in my router, I have to go in and basically say, you go here, and you go here. [LAUGHS]
DARRIN VEIT: Exactly. Yeah. And also it's kind of nice because that flows into the QoS settings is that QoS tagging will be happening on traffic that is using that port. And so--
LARRY HYRB: Let's go--
DARRIN VEIT: 30-something--
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, let's go down of QoS tagging here because this is really the net new feature down here at the bottom. And it's a pretty simple-looking screen. You turn it on. You turn it off. And you hit Apply. But tell us what each of these are, DSCP tagging and WMM tagging.
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah, so DSCP tagging happens at the IP layer. So this is for both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic. And so that is where I set a value that identifies it that, hey, this is latency-sensitive traffic. So it will carry on beyond your home network. So it will go through your router and actually out to your ISP. So that works well for--
LARRY HYRB: So that option actually tells me ISP, hey, my Xbox-- this is my Xbox multiplayer traffic. Please prioritize it.
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah. And it's up to the ISP to actually leverage that. But there are some new technologies coming out. One of them is called low latency DOCSIS, which is a protocol that's used by cable providers for internet service. So if you have a cable modem, that's a good indication that you're using DOCSIS. So it's a new protocol that takes advantage of the DSCP marking and can identify that and give it prioritization when there are types of congestion within a portion of the ISP network.
LARRY HYRB: Got it. So that's cool. [LAUGHS]
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah. So it'll work for that. Also, a lot of folks will have home routers that have a quality service engine. And so it can also help identify traffic to those devices to help prioritize it within the home network. And then for nerds like Larry that have really fancy networks, you can go on there and just go crazy with it.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah. But it's really great is that we've added these options because it helps gaming get better. And one of the interesting things you're telling me before we started the interview was a lot of older games that really predate this technology or this concept can now leverage it through backwards compatibility. Tell us a little bit about that because that's really cool.
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah, so that was really cool that we were able to build off of the amazing work that our backwards compatibility team has done over the years. And so it's not only current-generation titles, but also games that came out during the Xbox One generation, as well as going back to Xbox 360 can all leverage the packet tagging feature. And so it's a pretty crazy scenario that you can actually be playing a game that years and years ago no one was really thinking about doing any type of packet tagging, and then automatically gets done within the Xbox system and can take advantage of newer-generation technologies in the networking space. So yeah, it's a really cool feature to have.
LARRY HYRB: So the wizards of backwards compatibility continue to give us the bounty and gifts, right? And this and this way, again, because of the way that team created the emulators and the containers they run in, is they just kind of get dropped in and start communicating with the console. And the console does all the heavy lifting.
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah, absolutely.
LARRY HYRB: It's really exciting. I've got to let you go in just a minute here. But what are some-- you and I could talk for hours and again what we'll be emailing. But tell us a couple of tips maybe that you can give folks about how to optimize their network. Of course, best is always hard wired and things like that.
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah. A good rule of thumb is that wired is going to be your preference. And a lot of folks may not be aware of that wired is more than just an ethernet cable, that there are options like power line adapters, MoCA for using coax cabling in your house, actually.
LARRY HYRB: I actually use MoCA at home. I use my MoCA here. [LAUGHS]
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah, I actually got some MoCA adapters back here that, yeah, I've used and test with folks' different network environments. So, yeah, so wired, including non-traditional wired connections that you may not be aware of is preferred. And then for Wi-Fi, there's two different radio bands that routers have. It's 5 gigahertz and 2.4 gigahertz.
A lot of folks may not be aware of the differences. 5 gigahertz is preferred over 2.4 in a lot of scenarios. Even though 5 gigahertz have shorter range, that typically also means less overlap with other networks. And so in 2.4, you may be able to get a stronger radio signal between your console and your router. But a lot of times, you'll also be overlapping with a bunch of other networks from your neighbors, neighborhood, and things like that and actually run into congestion.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah. It's interesting you say it because there's so much noise on a 2.4 gigahertz. It could be a smart plug, or all these different things are running on it. Because chips are so inexpensive right now for 2.4 gigahertz, that they put them in everything. And sometimes--
DARRIN VEIT: And actually, it's not just Wi-Fi. One of the things that blows my mind is a microwave oven can actually cause noise in the 2.4 gigabytes range.
LARRY HYRB: Right. Even though it's not about-- yeah, because it's not about trying to communicate. It's more about the microwaves, the function of microwave cooking is in that range, right?
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: That's fascinating. And then, of course, one of the things we always want to do-- and I'm going to go back to the dashboard here in just a second-- is in your network settings is over on the right-hand side there. That's what you want. You want to have IPv4, and hopefully IPv6 if your ISP and your network supports it. But you're NAT type being open, that's kind of the holy grail, isn't it?
DARRIN VEIT: Yeah. So NAT type being open, that comes into play for games that are actually peer to peer. And so you also have games that are server hosted, and especially a lot of the very large-scale multiplayer. And so, yeah, the NAT type comes into play for IPv4 connectivity for games that are actually connecting console to console to run the session.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah. So it's great stuff there. Anyway, Darrin, I got to let you go. You and I could go on forever about this. I'd love to have you on again to talk more about networking. And hopefully people understand the new feature that's now available, quality-of-service tagging, that hopefully will help your multiplayer gaming, and frankly, some maybe even your backwards-compatibility gaming. Just a little bit better because every little millisecond counts doesn't it, Darren?
DARRIN VEIT: Awesome. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks a lot, Larry.
LARRY HYRB: All right. Thank you, my friend.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Thank you to Darrin and Tom for those interviews. Good to know that QoS stands for Quality of Service and not "QoS-sonts." But now I could really use a croissant, so.
LARRY HYRB: A little ham-and-cheese croissant.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Sounds nice.
LARRY HYRB: Jeff, are you OK with that?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I also--
REBECCA GORDIUS: What, Jeff, are you the only one allowed to make bad jokes here? Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Here's the thing that you don't know about Rebecca, is she has a PhD in bad jokes and dad jokes. And I cannot even hold a candle to that.
LARRY HYRB: Well, we had a great week. We're going to come back next week. We have even more interviews next week, another great show we're getting ready for. One thing we didn't talk about, Jeff, that we kind of had a blog post up earlier this week was about our showcase.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, duh, yeah. [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We talked about that last week, didn't we? Oh, no, we didn't because we recorded on Wednesday, and it got announced on Thursday.
LARRY HYRB: Exactly.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I was like, that's last week's news. So--
LARRY HYRB: It is last week's news, but we haven't covered it properly in the show. So just we'll be talking more about that in the weeks coming up, as best we can.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Sunday June 12, mark your calendars, 10:00 AM Pacific.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Very exciting.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah. Well, we'll talk about that more in the future. But anyway, thank you, both, for taking time out of your busy weeks and busy schedules to join us. Thank you, dear listener and dear--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Did you say "shedule." Larry?
LARRY HYRB: Yes. Yes.
REBECCA GORDIUS: He's feeling very European today.
LARRY HYRB: Well, we talked about croissants. So--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You must have had a "coca-lite."
REBECCA GORDIUS: "Shed-u-ills."
LARRY HYRB: Stop it, you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS] Au revoir.
LARRY HYRB: Au revoir. Anyway, we'll talk to everybody next week. Thanks for downloading the show. Make sure you drop some comments either here, over at YouTube. We love to do that. Jeff, anything you want to add before we go?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No, I've said more than enough today.
LARRY HYRB: All right. You, too, Rebecca. I know you've said enough as well. Any final jokes before I let you go, Rebecca?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Don't forget to and subscribe.
LARRY HYRB: There we go. That's the way to end it. All right, everybody. We'll see you guys next week. Bye, everybody.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Bye.