As part of its revised account service agreement, Microsoft now requires Xbox users to sign into their accounts every five years or risk potentially losing their Gamertag.
Only your gamertag will be affected, and not your purchases. If you fail to abide by the new rule, it might be made available for others to use.
Microsoft did not state whether or not the change will be applied retroactively, so you may want to log into your account in case you haven’t done so since, say, late 2011.
Microsoft regularly releases lapsed or inactive Gamertags back into the public domain, but this is the first time that the company has instituted a time frame. The new policy also applies Skype usernames.
You can find the full list of changes (gaming and non-gaming-related) on this handy page. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
The Borderlands Games, And Handsome Jack
The Borderland games helped define two generations of gaming.
Most gamers know about Borderlands in one way or the other, whether in passing or because of a strong desire to become the best gun collector,. You may play it for the story, you may like the characters, or you simply want to kill everything in sight in as many different ways as possible — no matter your compulsion, each of the three Borderlands games will give you a blast!
Now, what can we say that hasn’t been said already? Will you have fun with these games? Yes, absolutely, in fact, fun turns into a rather misleading word when it comes to this franchise in particular. Will you have freedom in this game? To an extent. Many story-driven games do not have such an open concept when it comes to gameplay compared to what Borderlands puts on the board.
This franchise offers plenty of aspects that help to create the feeling of freedom – from 4 playable heroes to millions of usable weapons, to how you approach the fight – and even with these in mind, Borderlands games cannot be regarded as an open-world release; and it’s for the better. The compact stories that go from title to title give a sense of roundness, and this feature is often lacking in the more open-ended titles.
Let us start at the beginning: Borderlands was released in 2009, almost a decade ago. And it still holds up! With the engaging story, hordes of enemies and the continuous race towards the prize, Borderlands carved out a place for itself in the hearts of many fans. There are at least two amazing, title-defining features in this one. First one is the art-style, exceptionally unique to Borderlands games.
Borderlands Vibe & Style
It might seem inconsequential at first gaze, but when most releases in the gaming industry try to polish their graphics, thus making them look as smooth as a movie scene. There’s something refreshing to see an echo of a comic-book style, accompanied by the whimsical details and outlines, all seemingly coming back to life right from your first glance. This original style became as much of a staple in Borderlands as the weapon system.
And even the first Borderlands game had a fair share of weapons! This brings us to the next defining element of the series: random weapon generator. The famed and beloved feature has become the main talking point when it comes to Borderlands games; there’s nothing more bonding than gathering your friends, grabbing a cup of coffee, and comparing which one of you was the most blessed by the RNG gods!
The More – the harder
The first Borderlands also offer a solution to the players who beat the game but still want more. To put it simply, the game raises the difficulty with each playthrough; so if you thought you will get to mow down the enemy and laugh at how pathetic they are, you will instead get to mow them down and laugh at how they are no challenge to you even when almighty. Borderlands games engine boosts them even further! And this rise in difficulty is applied to the whole system in general – your quests and DLC content also climb the ladder the more you play – endless fun!
The second addition to the series also keeps much of the same charm – only now you add a concrete villain in the mix. So, each time you shoot at some cannon fodder, you can imagine that smug face, till finally, you can put a bullet – or a dozen – in it too! The number of playable characters increased as compared to the first instalment of Borderlands games, so you can freely adjust the gameplay to your style. The greatly beloved sense of exploration returns, as some of the missions in Borderlands 2 now have multiple ways it may be resolved.
Weapons for Practicality
But the greatest change from the first is (once again) weapons system. While the randomness remains, there’s also the differentiation between the manufacturers of the guns. Depending on who made your weapon, its stats and features will be different. Thus, keeping a close eye on your loot and weighing your options is important here – or you can always just pick the biggest gun and see where that gets you!
Borderlands The Handsome Jack
Borderlands games also offer an extensive insight into the backstory of the villain from Borderlands 2, Jack. The game, wonderfully titled Pre-Sequel, follows him and his companions on their journey to become the tyrant… or gain vengeance of the evil Colonel, whichever comes first. The game employs many of the same systems as the second game in the series, but with a few minor additions. Basically, it’s a great continuous play when put together with Borderlands 2.
And this brings us to the latest instalment to the famed Borderlands games! Well, the following iteration is still in the works, but it still counts, probably even more. Borderlands 3 will feature 4 new playable characters, many of the previously known faces will return as NPCs (as is the tradition for the series by now), and the game boasts with the chance to travel outside of the enemy-infested Pandora as here, you’ll battle a horrendous cult and its leaders.
The combat system has been adjusted in accordance with the previous games’ success and many of the previous issues will now give players ‘longer’ fighting chance as NPCs can revive them and vice versa. Also, weapons will have an alternate fire mode, so imagine the possibilities with this one! The newest from Borderlands games, also adds new vehicles, new environments, new goodies and a lot more. It’s quite a paradise for the shoot-and-loot genre fans, truly. So, just ask yourself this: what more could you expect from a genre-defining shooter series? Nothing but excellence.
Epic Games Store New Return Policy Allows Unlimited Refunds, But…
Gamers get more leniency and a simplified verification process.
Epic has updated the Epic Games Store’s return policy to make it more competitive with other digital storefronts.
With the old policy, you were allowed just two refunds per year, but now everyone has unlimited refunds within 14 days of purchase and with under two hours played.
The Epic Games Store doesn’t have a “self-service” solution, at least not yet, so you will have to go through Customer Support to request a refund.
A change was also made to the verification process for receiving a refund. Customers no longer have to provide their IP address, last four digits of the card used, account creation date, and other information if the return meets the set criteria, though a contact form will still need to be used.
Epic plans to add more regional pricing options to the store. There are currently 30 different regions available, encompassing a total of 130 countries.
Microsoft Re-Releases One Million Xbox Live Gamertags, Grab Yours
If you missed out on getting the Xbox Live gamertag you’ve always wanted, now might be your chance to get it.
Microsoft has re-released nearly one million gamertags that have gone unused since the original Xbox was around, and anyone with an active Xbox Live Gold subscription and at least one year of cumulative Gold subscriptions can grab one or more.
Microsoft didn’t reveal the gamertags but provided a few of the categories they fall under:
- Proper names
- Pop culture references (entertainment, sports, gaming)
- Geography and travel
- Types of food
- Science and technology
- Math and numbers
- Some of the greatest inventions of all time
You can use Xbox.com, the Xbox App on Windows 10, or your Xbox One to make the change, but keep in mind that you’ll be charged a $10 fee if it’s not your first time changing gamertags.
Microsoft Stops Making the Xbox 360
Microsoft has stopped production the Xbox 360 after 10 years the console has been on the market, but promises to provide continual support for owners.
The Xbox 360 is arguably Microsoft most successful console, having essentially dominated North America (the most important gaming market) in the previous generation. You could say the original Wii sold notably more, but hardly anyone compares Nintendo’s underpowered console to either the Xbox or PS3.
Needless to say, it did a lot to grow the brand, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer stating:
“The Xbox 360 helped redefine an entire generation of gaming at Microsoft. I am incredibly proud of all of the work and dedication that went into development of the Xbox 360 hardware, services and games portfolio over the last decade. And I’m grateful to the fans for their continued passion and support.
“Thanks to the Xbox 360, we evolved Xbox Live from the original Xbox into the thriving online gaming community it is today. And the console became a beloved gaming and entertainment hub with over 78 billion gaming hours played, nearly 486 billion Gamerscore on 27 billion achievements and over 25 billion hours spent in apps over its lifetime.
“Xbox 360 means a lot to everyone in Microsoft. And while we’ve had an amazing run, the realities of manufacturing a product over a decade old are starting to creep up on us. Which is why we have made the decision to stop manufacturing new Xbox 360 consoles. We will continue to sell existing inventory of Xbox 360 consoles, with availability varying by country.”
Despite production stopping, the company still provide the following support:
- Xbox 360 owners will continue to receive Xbox Live services for their console, such as online multiplayer gaming and parties, access to the apps they use today, and Games with Gold and Deals with Gold.
- Xbox Live servers that support Xbox 360 services will also remain online and active. Our Xbox 360 fans can continue to play their favorite games with the full support of Xbox Live.
- Gamers will also be able to continue to buy over 4,000 Xbox 360 games or Xbox 360 accessories at retail and through our Xbox 360 store online, while supplies last.
- Any Xbox 360 hardware will still be supported at xbox.com/support.
- And Xbox One owners will be able to continue to enjoy available Xbox 360 games through Xbox One Backward Compatibility – at no additional cost.
What do you think about the Xbox 360? Is one of the best, if not the best, gaming console you have ever owned? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Microsoft Announces New Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Games
Microsoft has added to their list of backwards compatible games for the Xbox One, with standouts including The Witcher 2, Skullgirls, Counter Strike GO and Soulcalibur.
The company has also changed their plans for the feature, which allows gamers to conveniently play Xbox 360 titles on their Xbox One, moving away from a monthly release to something a bit more immediate.
Going forward, all Xbox One Backwards Compatible games will be released as soon as they become available rather than in batches, with Microsoft explaining:
“What this means for you is that you won’t have to wait to find out the latest titles; we’ll release whatever is available, when they’re available, once each title has received the engineering and publisher stamp of approval.”
The full list of new Backwards Compatible games can be found by clicking here.
Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners in select regions can download The Witcher 2:Assassins of Kings for free on Xbox.com till February 5th.
Here Are the First 104 Xbox One Backward Compatible Games
Microsoft has announced the first 104 games to be backward compatible with the Xbox One, and it’s quite an impressive lineup.
The list includes the complete Gears of War catalog, Assassin’s Creed II, Fallout 3, Borderlands, Castle Crashers and even cult classics like Metal Slug, Pac-Man and Sonic CD. Going forward, all Xbox 360 games available through Games with Gold after November 12, 2015, will be playable on the Xbox One.
- Future Xbox 360 Games with Gold Titles Will be Backwards Compatible on Xbox One
- Sega Will Make Wii’s Bayonetta Xbox One Backwards Compatible?
Without further ado, here are all the 104 Xbox One backward compatible games. Let us know if your favorites are missing:
|A Kingdom for Keflings||Lode Runner™|
|A World of Keflings||LUMINES LIVE!|
|Alien Hominid HD||Mass Effect™|
|Assassin’s Creed II||Metal Slug 3|
|Asteroids & Deluxe||Metal Slug XX|
|Banjo Kazooie®: Nuts & Bolts||Might & Magic Clash of Heroes™|
|BattleBlock Theater||Monday Night Combat|
|Bejeweled 2||Monkey Island: Special Edition|
|Bellator: MMA Onslaught||Monkey Island 2: Special Edition|
|Beyond Good & Evil HD||Ms. Splosion Man™|
|Blood of the Werewolf||Mutant Blobs Attack!!!|
|Borderlands||NBA JAM: On Fire Edition|
|Call of Juarez® Gunslinger||NiGHTS into dreams…|
|Castle Crashers||Operation Flashpoint™: Dragon Rising|
|CastleStorm||Pac-Man: Championship Edition™|
|Centipede & Millipede||Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX+|
|Condemned: Criminal Origins||Perfect Dark|
|Crazy Taxi™||Perfect Dark Zero|
|Deadliest Warrior: Legends||Phantom Breaker:Battle Grounds|
|Defense Grid: The Awakening||Pinball FX™|
|DiRT 3||Plants vs. Zombies|
|DiRT Showdown||Prince of Persia|
|Discs of Tron||Putty Squad|
|Doom||Rayman 3 HD|
|Doom II||R-Type Dimensions™|
|Dungeon Siege III||Sacred Citadel|
|Earthworm Jim HD||Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co.|
|Fable II||Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe|
|Fallout 3||Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World|
|Feeding Frenzy||Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage|
|Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown||Shadow Complex|
|Gears of War||Sonic CD|
|Gears of War 2||Sonic The Hedgehog|
|Gears of War 3||Sonic The Hedgehog 2|
|Gears of War: Judgment||Sonic The Hedgehog 3|
|Golden Axe™||Super Meat Boy|
|Halo: Spartan Assault||Supreme Commander 2|
|Hardwood Backgammon®||Tom Clancy’s RainbowSix Vegas|
|Hardwood Hearts®||Tom Clancy’s RainbowSix Vegas 2|
|Hardwood Spades®||South Park: The Stick of Truth™|
|Hexic HD||Toy Soldiers|
|Ikaruga||Toy Soldiers: Cold War|
|Jetpac Refuelled||Tron: Evolution|
|Joy Ride Turbo||Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon|
|Just Cause 2||Viva Piñata|
|Kameo™: Elements of Power||Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise|
|LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game||Wolfenstein 3D|
|LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga||Zuma|