LARRY HRYB: Hi, it's Larry Hryb, Xbox's Major Nelson. Welcome to the official Xbox podcast. We're back this week, a week before the holiday here in the United States. Joining me today is Jeff. Hello, Jeffrey.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, I don't see you. I hear you--
LARRY HRYB: Yes.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --loud and clear.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, you don't-- you don't--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Perhaps that's good enough.
LARRY HRYB: Well, I'll tell you--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: This is like a throwback show.
LARRY HRYB: We're doing a little bit something different this week. For those folks that watch it on YouTube, you can-- you're welcome to watch it on YouTube, but there's going to be nothing to look at because Jeff and I are just doing the audio version this week. Or Spotify. Yeah, your device is not broken. We are audio-only this week. We just decided to change things up, right?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Like the first 500 episodes of this show, essentially.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, we're going to go back and do some a little bit different. But we wanted to get together, as Jeff said. We're here audio-only. We are-- wow, it's a week before Thanksgiving here in the United States, Jeff, which is kind of-- I can't believe we're already here.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Do you have any good plans?
LARRY HRYB: No, we're just going to, you know-- it's a classic American holiday. You sit around and eat. So--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: OK. Well, I mean, some people traveled. It's the busiest travel time of the year, which is a great reason to not travel--
LARRY HRYB: Are you traveling?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --if you can avoid it. You know, I never do, and this year we are. We have some family-- as you know, we live in Seattle. We have some family that lives in the Bay Area, and then some of that family lives in Portland now, and so we're kind of meeting in the middle, if you will. And so--
LARRY HRYB: So like Centralia?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No, like meeting in Portland.
LARRY HRYB: OK. I see.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. That's some deep cut Washington geography there. What I would say is, yeah, for the first time in probably 15 years, I'm not responsible for the turkey or for any of the cooking, and it feels really weird. But it's good because the World Cup will be going on, which has never happened in my lifetime, I think, during-- or any of ours--
LARRY HRYB: At this time of the year.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --during this time of year.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And so I would have been very distracted. The turkey would be burned if a game goes to penalties or something like that. So it's going to be a lot of eating, enjoying someone else's labor, I guess, and watching the football.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, you--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Which I guess is also someone else's work.
LARRY HRYB: You talked about traveling on the holiday. I actually have traveled a couple of times. Like, one year I traveled on Christmas, on the actual Christmas Day, and it was very interesting.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: On Christmas Day, it's not the hardest day to travel.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There's less people doing it.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Christmas Eve, everything else, yeah, that's a lot harder.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway. But yeah, we're here to talk about video games. We're going to catch you up on the latest news. It's been a big week for video games on a lot of levels. Jeff's going to round up the news. But first, what are you playing, Jeff? Because right now I'm quite into Pentiment.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, cool. Yeah, how are you enjoying it? I started recently as well. Obviously it just came out this week.
LARRY HRYB: It's one of those games where you have to-- again, it's on Game Pass, so check it out. You have to really sit down and watch it, and focus on it, and read. I mean, it's-- I haven't gotten to a lot of the meaty parts of the story yet. I'm still making the discussions-- like, what do you want to study? Do you want to do botany? Because you're kind of defining your character.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You role-play a little bit in that early part with Andreas Maler. Yeah, it's really cool. I love that era of time. It's not the Middle Ages, it's what's referred to as an early modern era.
LARRY HRYB: Is that one of your favorite times when you were growing up, really?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, this is my AP European History class, it's finally paying off after all these years. Because at that time, like, America had been discovered and a lot-- the Renaissance was ongoing. And so life had changed a lot from the quote unquote "Dark Ages," but I think the Plague was still going on. Life was not easy by any means, but things were starting to coalesce into something that would be almost recognizable.
LARRY HRYB: Wait a minute. Are you telling me that Pentiment lives in the same multiverse as Plague Tale?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It would be about 200 years later, I want to say. It's in the 1500s as opposed to the 1300s. And a lot happened in that time. So--
LARRY HRYB: Thank you, Professor Jeffery.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: The Plague-- I know. Well, the Plague was not one fell swoop and it's over. It kept coming back every, I don't know, 30 to 50 years. People didn't travel as much. And so it's like it would live in a little area and then come back. Anyway, it's just interesting to see their lives because you're going through and you're talking to different people. And I love how, individually-- like when you're talking to a member of the clergy versus a member of the aristocracy versus a normal peasant person.
Even the font is different, representing the way that their level of literacy may have been at that time. And so-- or the way they would have spoken. And so there was actually a really good piece in The Verge about the fonts of Pentiment. But it's great. Congrats to Obsidian. The reviews have been phenomenal. The Metacritic as we sit here right now is something like 86.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, we're working on getting Josh Sawyer on. I know you've done some stuff with him. We may have him on a future show. I didn't want to get him on this show because it's just audio. I want to have him on video because to talk about some of these amazing visuals that are in Pentiment, again, available on Game Pass.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: What's funny is that literally as we're speaking, he is on Kinda Funny recording the Xcast. He's going to be on Friends Per Second and on Defining Duke with MattyPlays and Lord Cognito. So Josh is in a lot of places. We're trying to get him.
LARRY HRYB: He's making a lot of-- he's making the rounds on the talk show couch.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: He's got better places to be than here on this show. But it'd be great to get him back because it's just such an interesting game.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. Pentiment is--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Check it out.
LARRY HRYB: Check it out. As Jeff said, it's on Game Pass. What else am I playing this week? Let me take a look at my-- I'm still playing a little bit of Overwatch too. I was playing the Atari 50th anniversary collection--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: What game?
LARRY HRYB: All of them. Star Raiders was my jam back in the day, and I've talked about this a long time ago on the show. That was one that I would spend all day Saturday in the computer lab at high school to just play that game. So that was so fun.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. It's funny because a lot of the great games back then were Activision games, like Pitfall and-- was Yars' revenge-- I can't remember if that was them.
LARRY HRYB: No, that was not. I believe that's in the collection.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: But you know who is in the collection?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: But, but, but, but.
LARRY HRYB: You and I have a video feed, so we can see each other. I should bring it up here. But there's some Howard Scott Warshaw video. He's in-- because he did a lot of these Atari games. And of course, you and I were with him in the middle of the desert.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, he was the one who programmed ET-- Other games as well.
LARRY HRYB: Other games as well. A lot of other games.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. And back then, one person would effectively make the entire game. It was just like-- I mean, we do see that in some cases with indie games now. But that was like many games back then. It was like, oh, one person did the coding, and the music, and the UI, and everything.
LARRY HRYB: And they always had-- what I loved about those-- and you can go check this out in the Atari Collection, or frankly, anywhere-- is they always have these fantastical cover box art, right? And then you'd boot it up and it was just dots.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, it looked like a hand-painted-- like The Dark Crystal movie poster.
LARRY HRYB: Right. They're just--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Like--
LARRY HRYB: --beautiful pieces of art
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --over the top. Yeah. And then I have to imagine that's what I'm playing.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. So it kind of primed your mental pump to set you up for that. But anyway-- so I'm playing that. Overwatch. Of course Halo, which had its big update this week. I was playing around in Forge, which is really, really, really looking good.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's going to be cool to see what the community develops in Forge and what's going to be available to play. There was a great interview on the Xcast last week with Michael Schorr, who is sort of the lead forger, if you will, over at 343, and talking about what is there now, and more importantly, what's to come. And it's just going to be really cool. A huge and consistent infusion of content for those of us who maybe aren't great at creating to play.
LARRY HRYB: One of the games I'm also playing, which you and Phil Spencer tipped me off, Vampire Survivors.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm telling you, man, this is one of the games of the year. It might not be a TGA Game of the Year nominee. I believe it was nominated for Best Debut Indie. It's on Game Pass for both PC and now for console. I've spent-- that is now my palate cleanser game. Although, you can play for half an hour. But I'm glad you tried it out. This is a game where, do not look at the screenshots. Do not judge it in its first 10 seconds.
LARRY HRYB: No. It's gameplay.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I remember the first time playing that, I was like, what is this?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, what am I doing?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And then 15 minutes later, I'm still playing on that first level. And I'm like, OK, now I think I get this. And for those of you who haven't played it, you are a small pixelated character. It looks like something that could run on an NES, but it couldn't because of the amount of things on screen.
And you're controlling a little vampire hunter, and you start off with that first character, and the character just automatically whips in the direction that they are facing once every, I don't know, three seconds. And as you kill enemies, they drop little crystals and then you level up. And every time you level up, you get to pick another weapon or an upgrade to your existing weapon. So after 10 or 15 levels, you are a death-dealing dervish.
LARRY HRYB: You're whirling dervish, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You might have fire coming out. You might have these birds following you that are shooting projectiles. You might be throwing axes or knives or something called Santa Water, which is-- you should get that. That one's a powerful one. But then at the same time, increasingly powerful enemies are coming, to the point where you can almost have trouble seeing the map there's so many enemies.
And you're trying to just weave your character through. I think it was described as a reverse bullet hell because you're not shooting-- because all the firing just happens automatically. You're just using the left stick. It is a game you can play with just one finger and put on a podcast and just relax.
LARRY HRYB: It reminds me of--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You go into a flow state.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. Kind of like you and I were talking-- it reminds me of a little bit of Geometry Wars, where you're kind of just navigating the environment as things happen around you and you're threading the needle.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Like if you were playing Geometry Wars in pacifist mode-- I think there's an achievement for that. But your ship was automatically firing, and you're just getting through by the skin of your teeth every time. It's just so much fun.
LARRY HRYB: So that's what I'm-- by the way, what are you playing?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's a game, I think, made by one person.
LARRY HRYB: What are you playing this week? Or the past week.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, besides that-- actually, I wasn't on the show last week. Great show.
LARRY HRYB: Thank you.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You were nice enough to lend me your xScreen.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: For those of you who don't know, the xScreen is a-- it was a crowdfunded device that attaches to an Xbox Series S, and you can just basically you flip it upwards and you're playing on a screen directly above your Series S, and it's awesome. I was on the road. I was on the East Coast, both for work and visiting family. And during that time, I just got very sucked into Gotham Knights and ended up beating that game probably about 95%--
LARRY HRYB: Wait a minute.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --as Batgirl.
LARRY HRYB: We got to talk about-- let me just tell you what kind of service I provide. When you told me-- I said, hey, do you want to borrow the xScreen? You're like, yeah, yeah, yeah. I said, well, what games do you want on it? So I spent, like, three hours on a Saturday making sure the system was updated, loading your games on--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You didn't need to do that.
LARRY HRYB: Right? And I handed it to you, and it was all ready. All you had to do is put your account on it and you were ready to go.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You did. You did. Thank you. Every time I signed in, I was like, whoa, I'm getting a lot of notifications because it was signing it as you.
LARRY HRYB: I didn't take my--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Very quickly, I had you sign-- I hope I didn't kick you out or anything.
LARRY HRYB: No.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I immediately had to sign you out and then sign myself in.
LARRY HRYB: Well, it's funny you say that because that happened to me because the last person that borrowed this was Phil Spencer. So Phil had it-- when I went to set it up for you, I remember I had it in my home office, and I plugged it in and I booted it up. And I heard that doo-doo and I was like, oh, who did it log in? And I saw that it still had Phil Spencer's gamertag. And I was like, oh no. So I quickly deleted it and sent him an email saying, I hope you didn't bump you offline.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I need to stop borrowing yours. If you want to search for it, it's X-S-C-R-E-E-N. It is $249, which as of the point you're listening to this is, is actually about the same price as an Xbox Series S. That being said, incredibly useful, and I feel like I've gotten your money's worth here, Larry. So I should probably just go and get one for myself because I've used it so much. It's so good for traveling, and there's a really great case you can get for it as well.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And it's just awesome.
LARRY HRYB: I gave you the Full Monty. You had everything.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That means something else, I think, Larry--
LARRY HRYB: It does.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --having saw that movie at some point. But yes, you did let me borrow the kit and caboodle, if you will. And it was awesome. So I played a lot of that. And then I've also been playing a lot of God of War Ragnarok.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, that's right. Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I have a long history with that series. I think I'm in the credits for God of War III. I mean, only as a comms person. I get zero credit, and I didn't build anything ever, but that's the life of a comms person.
LARRY HRYB: You built anticipation.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'll promote it.
I built anticipation. That's a good way to put it. I actually announced Ascension, which was the fourth console version of that, in a live stream, but I had left the company before it came out. But anyway, God of War, the last one was awesome. This one is also awesome. So I'm playing a lot of that. But bouncing back and forth between that, Pentiment, and Vampire Survivors, three games that just could not be more different. So it's nice to cycle between the three.
LARRY HRYB: You know what else I tried was-- of course, we talked about it on the show last week, was the latest update for-- we talked about Halo of course. I mentioned that. But also Flight Simulator. They've got the big Flight Simulator update with helicopters, the Spruce Goose, and all sorts of other fun stuff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You know what else is really fun? This was actually my-- in the news industry, you'd call it the kicker. Like if we've got time, I'll bring this up. But kicker's moving up to top story here, which is I saw a tweet from Tom Warren this week--
LARRY HRYB: Oh yeah, about the Easter egg.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --about the Easter egg. I had no idea. So you should definitely follow Tom Warren on Twitter. He's @tomwarren. He knows things before I do sometimes, it seems like. Including this-- which is if you're in a particular plane--
LARRY HRYB: Particular aircraft.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --in the game. Particular aircraft, thank you. And you flip a particular switch on the radar display on your plane, you can play older versions of Flight Sim, like the ones from going back into the '80s. I think the first one I ever played was Flight Sim 3.0 at a friend's house. And seeing him play that, I was like, yes, that's what it looked like. That was so cool. So, yeah--
LARRY HRYB: Well, it was to the point of what we were talking about earlier about with the Atari games. That was the '80s and so forth. That was an era where your mind had to fill in a lot of blanks. You had to be very creative, you know? Like, oh, that's the landing field and that's the strip. You still were getting excited because you were now doing something that was different. But yeah, your mind had to fill in a lot of that stuff there.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Right. But at the time, it didn't feel like it was that much of a stretch, right?
LARRY HRYB: No.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And it's gotten easier and easier as fidelity's gotten better and better, and you don't have to use your imagination quite as much. But that's why there's some really cool art styles and everything and so it's not all just hyper-realism. So yeah, interesting to see the journey as that game is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, fantastic. So that's what we're playing. We got a little bit of news here that I figured you can go over.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Got a lot of news here, Larry. This is quite a week.
LARRY HRYB: Well, first of all, we're listening to this-- depending upon when you're listening to this, we're right at or before the holiday in the US, and right at or before what a lot of people think is a big shopping moment, which is Black Friday-- which is historically when there's a lot of deals.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And how, Larry. And how. So first of all-- well, let's start with the deals that are going on literally as we speak. So I'm looking at a blog post on news.xbox.com that says, "unwrap thrills," and it is all of the-- Black Friday starts now. It's not the day-- and that's been an ongoing thing. It's not just the day after Christmas. I'm sorry, the day after Thanksgiving. But it's almost like people that celebrate their birthday month, it's just like that's what Black Friday is now.
And so enjoy the sales now. And the big one is the Xbox Series S is now-- it's $50 off. This is a limited time sale, but get them while they're hot. And that is going on right now. There's also 30% off select gaming accessories. Up to 2/3 off hundreds of digital games. Actually, we'll go into some of that because I have the list in front of me. Just huge sales on games. Over 900 games are on sale.
LARRY HRYB: 900 games.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: 900. Including Deathloop, NBA 2k23, FIFA 23, Gotham Knights, Forza Horizon 5. A lot of these games-- I would say NBA and FIFA are going to be great holiday games.
LARRY HRYB: I'm a little disappointed. We have not talked about your NBA character name.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I haven't--
LARRY HRYB: Jeffrey Dean Chamillionaire.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I haven't made-- I have NBA 23 downloaded. I would love to be re-enacting Joel Embiid scoring 59 points. I have not had a chance to do that yet. But those are great games I end up playing a lot during the holidays because we're going to-- there'll be a bunch of us in a small house, and so what is something we all remember how to play.
We all remember how to play FIFA and NBA, especially if you play with the two-button mode or three-button mode, whatever it is. It's, hey, what button shoots, what button passes, and you're off and running. So definitely expect to play a lot of those. And you know what? I need some extra controllers. Good thing-- save up to 30% off on--
LARRY HRYB: Whoa, that was a nice, smooth--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --Xbox wireless controllers.
LARRY HRYB: --segue there.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Look at that. Look at that-- like butter. Like the butter that is going into those yams. And there's a lot of other stuff that-- in terms of accessories, from Razer, Thrustmaster, Bang & Olufsen. Basically, a lot of things that Larry has unboxed over the course of the last year is on sale, in some cases up to 60% off. Razer accessories, up to $80 off. That Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal is $200 off.
LARRY HRYB: That's the headset.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes.
LARRY HRYB: Very high-end noise-canceling headphones.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's a super nice one.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. And real quickly I want to take a look at some of these games that are on sale. I went through and I-- I have a giant Excel sheet here because there's, like, 900 games. Some games up to 90% off. There's some games on here I'm looking at that-- before you heard this show, it was $60, and now it's $6, which is kind of awesome. And we're talking from all the publishers-- EA, Ubisoft, and Bandai Namco, and Capcom, and 2K.
Everybody, including WB Games here. And of course our first party games as well. So definitely-- like, tremendous sales. Battlefield, Dragon Ball. Anthem is 90% off. Far Cry 3 Classic Edition, if you haven't played that, it's 90% off. So some amazing sales. You can pack some holes-- wait, the Resident Evil 2 remake is $10?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, What are you doing?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You should get that. And the Resident Evil 3-- I'm just looking at this as we go. MLB The Show 22, $17.50.
LARRY HRYB: Here's a little tip-- if you see some things you like and maybe you want to get something for a friend, gift them. You can use the gifting function that we have on the console and you can send someone a game.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, you can.
LARRY HRYB: You can buy it as a gift. So just think about that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And there's a significant amount of games that are in the single digit prices right now. A lot of the LEGO-- like LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. LEGO Star Wars Complete Saga, $5. So definitely look through-- actually, over on Xbox Wire, there's a significant amount you can sort through. We have a sortable one. SCARLET NEXUS, $15. That was a great game. All right, I can say there's--
LARRY HRYB: Look, go look at the list.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right, here's the one.
LARRY HRYB: OK.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Valkyria Chronicles 4-- is that right? $7.50. That is a game I spent 50 wonderful hours with. $7.50. If you like JRPGs, you like strategy, go get that game. Tell them Jeff sent you. You have to get it. So I'm going to be buying-- I'm going to be plugging a lot of holes, I think, in my library here. And you got to build up that backlog because why not?
LARRY HRYB: Quite a few lists-- quite a number of games on sale, so as Jeff said, go check them out. We'll have-- and of course, you can follow me on @MajorNelson. I'll tweet a few out just as a quick reminder over the course of the sales, but get them.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, yes. And again, the full sortable list over on news.xbox.com. You'll be able to find that pretty easily. So xbox.com. And actually, we share this information with folks like Cheap Ass Gamer and Wario64, so always great people to follow. They've got all the deals. They've got all the deals.
LARRY HRYB: Good.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You know what's the best deal in gaming, they say, Larry?
LARRY HRYB: Tell me. Well, it's Game Pass.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's right, it's Game Pass.
LARRY HRYB: It's not everybody says it, it's Game Pass. There's no argument.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: This is not what I'm saying. I'm not quoting me. I'm not quoting our marketing team. I'm quoting literally everybody who says this. So more games now available and even more coming on Game Pass. It just keeps on giving. Pentiment, as we talked about. Another big game-- another game that is getting a lot of great conversation, one that a lot of folks were excited about coming out of the Xbox and Bethesda game showcase last June was Somerville. That is now available--
LARRY HRYB: Oh yeah, Somerville.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --day one on Game Pass for cloud, console, and PC. It's a sci-fi adventure that apparently makes an incredible first impression. So I'm dying to play that one. Dune: Spice Wars now available in game preview. That is what they call a 4X real-time strategy game.
LARRY HRYB: That's on PC.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, that is on PC. So if you know what 4X is-- let's say--
LARRY HRYB: If you know, you know.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Civilization is a 4X. If you know, you know. Another game preview game on PC also, Ghostlore, which is an action RPG. Norco. This is a game that is an award-winning game now on cloud and console, on Xbox One and Xbox Series X and S about a near future, alternate future, suburban New Orleans story game that-- again, award-winning. Soccer Story. This seems--
LARRY HRYB: That's on console.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --very much my jam. Cloud, console, and PC. A physics-driven adventure RPG where every problem can be solved with your trusty magic ball.
LARRY HRYB: That's my-- you know what?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You beat people--
LARRY HRYB: That's my theme in life. Every problem can be solved with my magic ball.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: OK. There's nothing more I can or should add to that. Last thing I want to-- this was a game that we've been excited about for quite some time, a four player co-op game, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide. It's coming out on PC. Day one on PC Game Pass. That's November 30.
LARRY HRYB: We have a coworker that loves the Warhammer universe, doesn't he?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: He does. Well, the Warhammer universe is in games, it's in tabletop. I think he is very into both.
LARRY HRYB: You know what I think I should do? We should do an interview with somebody from Warhammer and have him conduct the interview.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I think that would be great.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway, keep going.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. So there's so much. There's new perks, by the way, if you've been playing multiverses. There's an MVP pack too, and touch controls have been added to 15 more games as well. So there's just a ton there. And as always, news.xbox.com has it all. And also, if you're an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member, that means you have access to EA Play, don't forget that. And what's added to EA Play just now is Battlefield 2042. There's also some perks as well. Some soldier-- for everything from NHL, to Apex, to Battlefield, to FIFA 23, to Madden, to Grid. All of those things you're going to want to--
LARRY HRYB: Deals, deals, deals.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --take advantage of.
LARRY HRYB: We've got a lot of other news as well. We had a couple of things. We had the dashboard update go out this week, Jeff, which was--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Why don't you talk about that? Do you have that in front of you? I feel like this is very much in your wheelhouse. This is a very meaty update.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. So the November update, by the time you read this, you probably already have it. But there's a lot there's a lot of really cool stuff in there. We can connect your Discord voice channels from your Xbox so you can join servers right from your console, which is amazing. When you're on--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So before, you needed to use your phone. You would transfer. And that was good. It worked. But now you can bypass that step entirely and you can see those servers from your guide, which is awesome.
LARRY HRYB: And by the way, you can also go from the Discord app on your PC-- there is a button called Transfer to Console. So you can go the other way too. A lot of people don't know that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Or you can just go straight on your console, which is great.
LARRY HRYB: There's noise suppression in Discord. It exists in the app already, but you now have that. We've got some wish list and gifting notifications. Again, this is only an update. So when you're on your-- we talked about sending gifts. You can do that. But you can also get notified when something goes on sale. So put things on your wish list and that way you don't have to even think about it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You're going to get a lot of notifications this week because there's a lot of stuff on sale from now until the 30th.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, it's going to be popping like crazy, so you can check that out. We've also done-- one of the areas that the team's been working on is captures. We have a new captures app on the Xbox. You can find it under the Capture and Share tab, as well as My Games and Apps. You're going to be able to do things like better manage your game clips. You can put them on external drives. You can get better playback quality. All sorts of stuff.
We've increased the bitrate for 720 and 1080p captures so your games will look better than ever when you decide to put them out on Twitter or wherever you decide to share them. Now this next one, Jeff, doesn't sound so interesting at first blush, but I really like it, and I think you will too. And that is we've done enhanced power options and customization for the console. Now basically what the TLDR on that is, the engineering teams have done some great work where you can go back into the general power options and you can see the different options that you have, and what you can do and what you're saving.
For instance, we've got shutdown, which is energy-saving mode where the console shuts down. It still does automatic updates of games and so forth of the console. It does remote features. But here's the kicker. If you're in shutdown mode, Jeff, you save 20 times the power over sleep mode. So if you--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's a lot of power, Larry.
LARRY HRYB: It's a lot of power. And you can go into the new general power options and see over on the right-hand side, there's a little bar that will grow as you're consuming power in terms of what your profile is. But I use shutdown right now because if you're fortunate enough to own an Xbox Series X or S, they boot up in about 10 to 15 seconds. Usually less than 15 seconds.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's real quick. And one of the main advantages back in the day for keeping it on instant on or the more energy-intensive version was, oh, I want to keep my games up to date. I want it to take the patches. I want it to update the system by itself. But now it's been sorted so that you can keep it on what's called shutdown mode and save all that power and it will still update.
At some point it must look and say, oh, there's an update here, and it'll still take that. So you don't have to-- you get to have it both ways. And so, yeah, I too keep it on shutdown mode. Save the energy. And again, it's up so quick that I'm often playing-- like, I hit the button, I sit down, and then by the time I look up, I'm ready to go.
LARRY HRYB: By the time you've taken your second sip of bubble tea, it's ready to go.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I mean, I do drink it really quickly, which is a problem because it's not cheap, Larry. You get the boba, I like to get the oat milk. You add it all together, it's up to $6.50. You've got to give a tip, tax.
LARRY HRYB: At that point you might as well just buy one of the games that's on sale.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You could get over 40 hours of gameplay in Valkyria Chronicles 4 or you can get one bubble tea, which is gone for me in about three minutes.
LARRY HRYB: Think about it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I can really go for a bubble tea--
LARRY HRYB: Back to the update. Again, even more options. Make sure you go into your settings, general power options, and do yourself a favor and try the shutdown mode. It's very clearly laid out there. We've got some great screenshots on the blog post on news.xbox.com. Moving on down the line, we've got some other cool integrations. You can now livestream directly from your Xbox console with Twitch, which you could always do before, but now you can do Lightstream and Streamlabs. Which, a lot of folks like to use that, which are kind of server side, server-based options. So you don't really need to have that--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: They make your they make your stream look better.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So you can have your theme and everything in there. I've used Streamlabs before, and it's really cool to be able to save all those settings and make-- like, back when streaming from the Xbox One first started, you could very clearly tell, OK, this is just coming directly from a console because you couldn't have all the bells and whistles. Now you can.
LARRY HRYB: Use one of these Lightstream or Streamlabs. And any of your Twitch, you can do that. So we got that on there. Check that out. And you'll find that out under the livestreaming options in the guide there. We also had a controller rumble for X Cloud gaming. It's in beta. It's on PC and Mac, so if you're cloud gaming on a PC or Mac or Edge, or using Edge or Google Chrome browser, or even on a Samsung TV-- they're going to update the Samsung TVs to support rumble. And it's one of those things we're like, oh, wait, you didn't have it? No, we didn't have it. So now we do.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So one thing about the Samsung TVs. So as we speak, that is available on 2022 smart TVs, Samsung smart TVs. But we're now expanding support to Samsung 2021 smart TVs, which is millions more TVs that are out there. So this is going to be rolling out through the rest of the year. We do have a blog post from Ashley McKissick talking about it.
But the way it will work is those 2021 smart TV owners will be able to search for and download the Xbox app onto the TV, much like you do with other apps as well. And then you will be able to have instant access to cloud gaming through Game Pass Ultimate. And of course, if you're new to Game Pass, you can join or upgrade for just a buck. Of course, if you're listening to this show, I would imagine you're already--
LARRY HRYB: You're already a member. We know you're a member.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: The rumble was like the one thing that was like, oh, I really hope that comes to this because playing-- I played on a 2022 smart TV at work and at a couple of events. And I was like, this plays amazing, just needs rumble. So it's great that that's coming, and it's really great that it's coming to just so many more TVs. So you may have an extra Xbox in your house without even knowing it.
LARRY HRYB: So that's, again, part-- this is kind of more update that's not obviously directly related to the console. Back to the console, we've got recommendation settings. So you can like, hey, do you want to enable 4K resolution or HDMI-CEC or set up your audio? So to help you to make sure that, hey, oh, I forgot about this, or you can do that. So we've added recommendations.
Another cool feature that we've added for maybe some of you is the Ask to Join Game. So if you sign in to your console and you see someone playing a game-- like, oh, I kind of want to join Jeff's game. He's playing Overwatch 2 with his daughter. You can go down to it and click Ask to Join, and then you will-- Jeff, in your case, you'll get--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's good, yeah, because sometimes you'll be playing, and before that you could just invite people. And it's like, well, I don't want to leave the game I'm currently in.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, that was a passive way of saying hey, I want to play.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I want to play, but I've got to come to you. Well, now you can ask to play. And then, oh yeah, if I want to, sure, come and join. And I think that's just a great quality of life.
LARRY HRYB: So you'll see that on people's profiles and the guide. Xbox Assist has now a new name. It's called Xbox Support. We put a bunch of new options in there. You can check that out. So big update for November. Those are just some of the-- those are the headlines of what we're doing. And if you really want to see stuff before it happens, become part of an Xbox Insider, where you can help us test out a lot of different things as they are being developed. So you want to do that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's the only test that's fun. Driving test, that's not fun. Midterms, those aren't fun.
LARRY HRYB: No testing.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Testing out new features? I'm into it. I'm into it. So one last holiday note is that we did announce a holiday bundle for Xbox Series S called the Gilded Hunter Bundle. It's coming November 29, and it's a Series S, but it also has a bunch of additional cosmetics and virtual currency for Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys, three of the most popular games.
And so you can also, of course, utilize Xbox All Access, which would get you the Series S, 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. That's two years, and it's just $24.99 for those 24 months. And at the end of the 24 months, the Xbox is yours. You just keep playing it. And so a pretty darn good deal I would say, right, that. So keep an eye out if that sounds like a type of-- you have a big Fortnite player, big Fall Guys player in your life, you want to get them playing on Xbox. Keep an eye out for that bundle starting November 29.
LARRY HRYB: Fantastic.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: While supplies last.
LARRY HRYB: Well, thank you. Exactly. Got to have that in there. You have any other news before--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, yeah.
LARRY HRYB: Go ahead.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, there was one thing that we had that was-- so as you recall, last week we were talking about-- or two weeks ago on the show-- was it last week? I think we did the interview two weeks ago, but I think it ran last week, on safety and--
LARRY HRYB: No, it was actually supposed to run today, but we couldn't do it--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's running today?
LARRY HRYB: No, we're--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, because we can't do it. Oh my god.
LARRY HRYB: Yes.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Because we don't have the video.
LARRY HRYB: Why don't you deliver the headlines?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Sure. This week, we shared the first ever Xbox transparency report. I'm sure a number of you have, at different times, let's say, issued a report. Like, I'm going to-- I don't like what I'm seeing here. And so you might wonder, where does that go? How does that work? And what does this look like in the larger ecosystem of playing on Xbox? And so we are educating folks on what that looks like.
What is the player journey when somebody issues a report? They see something they don't like. They think somebody is behaving badly. And so there's all kinds of information here on how that works, what we are doing to protect players that actually happens proactively, without anybody issuing a report. Being able to take out maybe malicious or bot accounts. And there's just a lot of education here on things that you can do. So again, I highly recommend if you are buying a new console, a Series X or S, for any of your relatives this year, or if you're getting a new one and let's say you're giving your Xbox One X to a niece or nephew or a younger brother or sister, don't just sign in and have them be an adult.
Don't just put them in as your sign-in and have them do the same. It is so important to set up a child's account. Do it properly. You can do it over at microsoft.com. You can do it through the console. It'll even ask you as you sign up, is a child using this account. And then you can manage that through the Xbox Family Settings app on mobile, and you can regulate everything. And so I used this very thoroughly as my kid had been getting older.
She's a teenager now and I let her play pretty much anything. But when she was eight, I wanted to greatly restrict. I didn't want her talking to anybody that I didn't approve of. And so I could approve friends, I could make sure that when she was playing Overwatch or if she was in the lobby, she couldn't hear anybody.
LARRY HRYB: That's right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I could make sure that you couldn't buy anything without my approval. And I could even set hours. And she might be playing and might hit up against the limit that I had set, and then she could request, I want to have more time. And I would get a notification, and I could say no. And the important thing that happens with that is you end up having a dialogue. Like, hey, have you gotten your homework done? Did you empty the dishwasher? Whatever it is that you want your kid to be doing, if they haven't done it when they're asking for more time, well, there's a great opportunity to go, yeah, I would have let you, but you didn't do those chores.
Or you haven't done your homework, whatever it might be. Or you have done those things, here's another half an hour. You've earned it. And that's the conversations that I had with my daughter, and that's how she'd learned the give and take of managing that time. And you could do it all through the app. And so it's just so important. Then over time, as she was making friends in school that had Xboxes, she wanted to add them. Eventually I learned to trust her, that she's only going to be adding people that she knows in real life, and I was able to loosen that restriction very easily through the app.
She wanted to play different games. I could approve those games once she was ready for T-rated games. Anyway, I know I'm going on and on, but it really is that important. And this is the time of year I think that people really need to hear it. Don't just optimize for-- let me just jam through this as quickly as possible so my kid can play Fortnite.
Set them up properly even if that means you unbox the new device, take the update, make an account, put it in, and then put it back in the box. They're never going to know, trust me. They're going to be so busy unwrapping and being excited about it, they're never going to know that you were the first to do it. It is well worth it to set it up that way.
LARRY HRYB: I don't have anything to add, you covered everything in that monologue.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right. That's my Dad Jeff. I'm putting that back away and now I'm back to irresponsible me, I guess.
LARRY HRYB: Irresponsible Yakuza you.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Regular-- yeah, Yakuza playing Jeff.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway, got any other news? Because I've got a little bit of something before we wrap up here.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No, please go for it.
LARRY HRYB: I just want to take a moment and thank the millions and millions and millions of people who started our journey 20 years ago with us when Xbox Live launched, which celebrated 20 years ago-- November 15, 2002 is when it launched. So we just celebrated 20 years of Xbox. What was Xbox Live, and now it's just Xbox, right?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That is-- yeah, that's amazing. Do you have the 20 Year badge?
LARRY HRYB: I do on one of my other-- I have a private account. But I don't have it on my MajorNelson account because that one I joined a year and a half after Xbox Live launched.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I got to look it up to see what I'm at. I first joined Xbox Live in 2004 for Halo 2. I think a lot of people did that. That was the first time I felt like I needed it. But then I switched accounts at some point, so I think-- now I'm looking to see what my badge says.
LARRY HRYB: That's right, because your original gamertag was, like, Florida Weatherman, right?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It was-- so, all right. This was when Arrested Development, the show, not the band-- the show was first out. So 2004. And I was Tobias Funke, who was David Cross's character.
LARRY HRYB: Right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And it was available, and is presumably no longer available. And so-- yeah, I'm at 13. So I made a new account, I guess, in 2009.
LARRY HRYB: Right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I guess that's what happened. Anyway.
LARRY HRYB: But it's good to see everybody that's been gaming with us for many years. Of course, that's one of the real innovations we had was bringing Xbox Live to the masses. So not much more to say.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Happy anniversary.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, just want to make sure we called it out.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And thank you, like you said.
LARRY HRYB: All right, Jeffrey, I appreciate you joining today, and Rebecca will be back in a few weeks. We are not around next week because next week is a holiday here in the United States-- the Thanksgiving holiday, which Jeff went over. So go play and buy some games cheaply.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Bring your Xbox loaded with some good family games for folks to play together.
LARRY HRYB: You know what? You can even bring--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's also good to play after dinner.
LARRY HRYB: If you go over to your mom or dad's house-- or your brother's, or sister's, or uncle's, or aunt's-- maybe they've got a Samsung 22 TV. Imagine blowing their mind. Bring a controller with you and just say, hey, let's check it out.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's a great idea.
LARRY HRYB: Boom.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That is a really good idea. Oh, you don't think you have an Xbox? Let me show you.
LARRY HRYB: And you know what? Hit me up on Twitter, @MajorNelson, let me know. I'd love to see if you do that during one of your family visits over the holidays. Anyway.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's awesome. I hope all of you-- Larry, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.
LARRY HRYB: Thank you, Jeff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I hope you don't eat too much, but don't eat too little either.
LARRY HRYB: We'll be back on the air in a couple of weeks, hopefully, if all works well. Thank you guys for bearing with us, and have a great holiday, everybody. We'll catch you online. You can find Jeff on Twitter. Jeff, how do they find you on Twitter?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, assuming it's still there-- enjoying the last vestiges of my check mark, @JeffRubenstein.
LARRY HRYB: And you can find me @MajorNelson. All right, buddy. Well, have fun, and we'll see everybody later. Bye-bye, everybody.