Sneak peeks at new games, more Windows 10 perks and Kinect-powered music — Weekend Reading: Aug. 7 edition

| Tracy Ith

August seems to have crept up on us, and its first week has brought some exciting news for gamers, Windows 10 users, music fans, Microsoft employees and plenty of others around the globe. We’ve rounded up the highlights for this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

Microsoft made a splash at gamescom 2015, the world’s biggest interactive games and entertainment expo, by unveiling new footage for some highly anticipated games for Xbox and Windows 10. The company debuted world-premiere gameplay of “Crackdown 3,” “Scalebound” and “Killer Instinct Season 3,” alongside a new gameplay demo of the eagerly awaited “Quantum Break.”

Xbox also announced the launch dates of Xbox One Backward Compatibility, the Xbox One Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition Bundle and “Halo Wars 2,” an exciting new strategy game packed with fast-paced action, massive battles and an all-new Halo story, which is coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 in fall 2016. Xbox Wire has all the details of these games and more.

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Microsoft gave several employee benefits a big boost this week, including the expansion of parental leave for new mothers and fathers. Among the changes, mothers will now be able to take 20 weeks of fully paid leave if they choose.

The company is also adding two more paid holidays — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day – and increasing amount of deferrals the company will match in its 401(k) plan.

“The people of Microsoft truly are what make our company great,” Kathleen Hogan, executive vice president of Human Resources wrote on the Official Microsoft Blog. “These changes are in direct support of the culture we aspire to have — one that allows people to build meaningful careers.”

Microsoft also announced changes to its Law Firm Diversity Program aimed at working toward a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.

Microsoft Kinect is being used to power an extraordinary music and light installation this weekend in New York. Delqa uses the interactive technology to let people walking through the New Museum’s NEW INC space the ability to manipulate and reshape the sounds and sights, closing the usual gap between artist and audience.

The project highlights Microsoft’s broader aim to give musicians, artists and tech-minded people new ways to work together to create revolutionary experiences, transforming the future of music and art.

Microsoft’s digital storytelling app Sway is now generally available and is rolling out to all eligible Office 365 for business and education customers worldwide, enabling organizations to start using it to create and share interactive reports, lessons, projects and more.

Anyone can use Sway with a free Microsoft account. All you need are the ideas and raw content; Sway “creates a polished, cohesive layout that helps your images, text, videos and other media flow together in a way that enhances your story,” the Sway team wrote in a blog post with all the details.



The results are in from an incredible week in Los Angeles, where thousands of athletes competed in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. Microsoft partnered with the organization to modernize its games management system and donated more than 2,000 devices to track the events.

The company also followed the journeys of four athletes as they trained for, traveled to and competed in the games. Each had plenty of family support and brought home medals.

Andy Miyares

And there’s plenty of apps news this week. Outlook on the Web rolled out some new tools and a cleaner user interface to help you be more efficient. The Twitter app for Windows 10 now has a new timeline preview, location-based tweets and other new features.

You can also keep track of what’s going on in the world with Flipboard, which lets you build your own personal magazine with social updates and the news that interests you, or the USA TODAY app, which has been redesigned for Windows 10.

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You’re now caught up on the week’s news. Check out Weekend Reading next week, same time and place, and in the meantime, enjoy a relaxing summer weekend.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

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