Remember when video gaming used to be simple? Remember when listening to music on your Xbox One didn’t involve having to snap a media player to the side of your screen before you open a game? Remember when Windows had a desktop and didn’t have a built-in video store?

I do, but I’d rather not talk about the dark ages. Instead I’d like to answer your questions so that you can thrive in this new Microsoft/Xbox entertainment landscape. Have any questions about Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 8 or how to freshen up your breath before your date? Email them to us at theteam[at] for inclusion in Ask enConnected. Don’t hesitate to send them our way on Twitter either at @enConnected.

Listening to Music & Playing Games at the Same Time on the Xbox One

Q. How do you play a game – Watch Dogs if that’s important — while listening to music on the Xbox One? On the Xbox 360 it was pretty simple. Why isn’t that the case with my new expensive console?

A. You’re right, listening to music and playing games on the Xbox 360 was pretty straight forward and it isn’t on the Xbox One. It is getting better though.

The Xbox 360 had a built-in media player that allowed users to play songs from a CD or external storage like a hard drive or flash drive. You could always access this media player directly from the Xbox Guide by pressing the logo in the middle of your controller.

The music listening experience on the Xbox One was pretty basic at launch because there were a lot of missing things that needed to happen first. Originally, the Xbox One couldn’t see external hard drives and flash drives. Microsoft added that in a recent update, but it could only reformat hard drives and store games on them. Then the company added a media player that could see tons of formats stored on drives and access it. In theory, all of the pieces are in place except for one thing: even the Xbox One’s new media player requires users to snap it to the side of their screen.

For now you’ll need to download the Media Player app from the Xbox Store then add media to your hard drive or flash drive. Launch the media player first, then hit the menu button on your Xbox One controller and select Snap. Now launch the game. If you were wise and picked up the Kinect 2 Sensor you can just say, “Xbox, Snap Media Player” once it’s installed and go from there.

Getting Free Xbox Games

Q. What are some of the ways I can get my son some free Xbox games to play? Money is a bit tight, but he enjoys the hobby and I want to encourage it. He’s 6.

A. I’m glad that your son enjoys gaming and it’s awesome to hear someone out there encouraging their kids to pursue their passions. I know from first-hand experience that this attitude from parents isn’t always a given where gaming is concerned.

If it’s free Xbox games you need, let’s break this down between each system. Both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 allow users to download two free titles at no additional cost each month. These are free in the sense that if your son already has a subscription to Xbox Live, the service needed to play multiplayer, he won’t be charged extra for them. With the Xbox 360 these games are your son’s to keep forever. With the Xbox One, these games will stop working if you cancel your son’s Xbox Live subscription. Xbox Live costs $9.99 a month or $60 a year.

Happy Wars is a great free Xbox 360 game. Power Star Golf is a free Xbox One game that’s family oriented. Killer Instinct is another free Xbox One game, though it’s decidedly less family and young people friendly. Downloading each of these games is free, but they also come with in-game purchases you might want to watch out for.


Q. How do you feel about the controversy surrounding Zoey Quinn and Gamergate? You published a link to story denouncing it, but if you only knew the details I think you’d be on a different side.

A. enConnected did link to a culture piece in the last few weeks pointing to a take-down of it. In that post we said we hadn’t yet taken the time to learn enough about it to come to a solid conclusion. Including that part was a mistake.

I knew a lot about the controversy then but chose to stay out of it over cowardice. I’ll own that.

I’m for transparency. I’m for journalistic integrity. I’m against people trying to get together in the shadows and influencing coverage. I’m also on the side of those in opposition to GamerGate — at least the movement anyway. The movement is an embarrassment to video games and a reminder of that you can pay for school but can’t buy class.

You can pay for school but you can’t buy class.

I’m all for journalistic best practices. I’m not for reading anything published by Brietbart and taking it seriously. Harassing women in any situation because they dare to speak out about something is ridiculous and hiding that kind of behavior behind a banner of change and transparency is intellectually criminal.

Shady practices when covering game news, reviewing games and reporting on the gaming industry – or any industry – should be discouraged by white knights of integrity. White Knights don’t send death threats because someone they oppose has a speaking engagement. Be on the side of transparency, but dump the GamerGate banner and girl hating, which most of them seem to be doing.

Windows 10

Q. I’m running Windows 10 and haven’t noticed any upgrades for gamers. Have you seen or heard anything?

A. Speaking of white knights, you’re brave for taking the plunge on the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

I’m running the operating system, but instead of using it every day it’s sitting on a Surface Pro that’s been demoted to testing status. After spending a lot of time with windows 10 I can comfortably say there’s nothing in there that makes gaming strictly better. Of course, that’s on purpose.

Microsoft is committed to launching Windows 10 for everyone sometime next year. It hasn’t shared a complete time line yet, but we do know that there’s a Consumer Preview coming. I’d expect the Consumer Preview to be the thing that includes new features for gaming and so forth. Seriously, though whatever we get can’t be a bigger joke than the Games app on Windows 8.1.

Thanks for your questions everyone and remember to leave more in the comments for inclusion in the next edition of Ask enConnected.

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