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Wednesday, 14 March 2018 | MYT 8:30 AM

Sea of Thieves headlines return of Inside Xbox

Games, giveaways, and on-brand tie-ins helped characterise the first episode of a new monthly Inside Xbox live show, with March 20 pirate multiplayer Sea Of Thieves occupying much of the event's 1h45m run time.

Co-operative multiplayer adventure Sea Of Thieves took central stage during the first episode of a revamped Inside Xbox on March 10.

A half dozen other games also featured throughout the Xbox brand's official show, as did a preview of upcoming technical improvements, a throwback gamepad ("The Duke"), a segment on value-oriented subscription service Xbox GamePass, and various nods toward social media engagement.

Developed by British Microsoft-owned studio Rare – whose legacy includes Banjo-Kazooie, Viva Piñata, Kinect Sports and Killer Instinct as well as Nintendo classics Donkey Kong Country, Diddy Kong Racing and GoldenEye 007 – upcoming pirate adventure Sea Of Thieves has become one of the Xbox One's key releases of 2018.

Announced in 2015 and now riding a wave of anticipation thanks to a schedule of closed beta tests and a free-for-all weekend coincidental with the Inside Xbox comeback, Sea Of Thieves is positioned as an enviable exclusive for the Xbox One and Microsoft's Windows 10 store.

Players team up to crew a pirate ship and set off in search of adventure, treasure, and naval combat – with other crews of players also sailing the ocean wave.

Themed controller and console bundle giveaways punctuated March's Inside Xbox, as did excerpts from a studio visit, better acquainting viewers with the game's attractions.

Among other titles featured during the show were PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (or "PUBG"), Far Cry 5, Surviving Mars, PixArk and The Darwin Project.

And with Twitch allowing channel hosts to generate income through donation and subscription options, Inside Xbox announced that Microsoft's competitor Mixer would introduce a direct purchase option for games played on its service, with a proportion of revenue going to streamers.

Throughout the show, Microsoft incentivised participation through social media with a number of impromptu giveaways, rewarding Twitter users on the spot for, in effect, boosting the show's word-of-mouth prospects, while a monthly sweepstake for GamePass subscribers was also announced.

Inside Xbox originally ran for four years during the Xbox 360 era but was cancelled in 2012. — AFP Relaxnews