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By Hamza Jawad
Minecraft Dungeons: Creeping Winter DLC is now available
by Hamza Jawad
Last month, Mojang Studios announced that its ARPG title set in the Minecraft universe, Minecraft: Dungeons, would be getting its second DLC offering in September. Today, the Creeping Winter DLC pack has been released, allowing players to experience a whole new frozen region that introduces new items, mobs, missions, and more.
The launch trailer below showcases some of what is being offered through this DLC.
Along with Creeping Winter, a free update has also been made available to everyone, bringing village merchants that players can barter with, a blacksmith to upgrade items, and a gift wrapper that can be utilized through the multiplayer trading aspect. The update also includes Daily Trials in the form of two new challenges each day, plus an additional one for each of the two currently released DLCs the player owns. The trials will provide players with better rewards through levels that offer a more challenging experience than normal gameplay.
To get access to the Creeping Winter DLC, players can upgrade their Standard Edition using a Hero Pass, or get their hands on the all-new physical version of the Hero Edition of Minecraft Dungeons that is available in stores today. Players in Japan will have to wait a month longer before they can purchase the new DLC on their PS4.
The DLC can also be purchased separately through a digital platform of choice. More information on obtaining it through this method can be found here.
VR support is coming to Minecraft on PlayStation 4 as a free update
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Minecraft, Mojang's block-based sandbox sensation, has had virtual reality support for years now on PC, and now, PlayStation 4 consoles are finally gaining the capability. Announced today on the PlayStation Blog, Mojang's Roger Carpenter explained that the feature has been on the cards since Minecraft Bedrock and its cross-platform capabilities were confirmed to be arriving for the PlayStation ecosystem.
The new VR support will be made available as a free update on the PlayStation 4 version of Minecraft, offering everyone with a PS VR setup access to the feature. Much like the PC implementation, this isn't a separate game mode, meaning it lets all platforms and input-methods join together for the full experience.
Players will be able to use their DualShock 4 controller to "move around and do all the crafting and choppy/fighty things." In addition to settings for tweaking the VR experience, the Immersive and Living Room viewing modes will be available here too. The former puts players right into the world, while the latter has them in an in-game room where they play Minecraft on a screen in front of them, which should be better for those that suffer from motion sickness.
The Minecraft PSVR update wasn't given an exact release date today, but it is launching this month. Meanwhile, Minecraft Live is slated to kick off next month as a fully digital event, offering fans glimpses at upcoming updates, mobs, and more that are heading to the Microsoft-owned title.
Microsoft Weekly: DirectStorage for Windows, new updates, and Surface firmware
by Florin Bodnarescu
DirectStorage making its way to Windows, Microsoft once again being awarded the JEDI contract, and even the accidental mention of an Xbox Series S were all uncovered this week. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of August 29 - September 4.
DirectStorage for Windows
One of the more interesting bits of gaming news this week concerns the cross-pollination between Microsoft’s console and Windows, namely in the DirectX technologies sector.
As was promised when the company first announced DirectX XII Ultimate, Microsoft is looking to bring DirectStorage from the Xbox Velocity Architecture to Windows. Via this API, developers will be able to establish multiple I/O queues – so in essence parallelization of I/O requests -, improving load times, latency, and rendering ability in games.
Sticking to the console a tad longer though, we’ve compiled a list of the best Xbox One games launching next week, a new Designed for Xbox branding and set of partners has been revealed, there are a number of Deals with Gold currently active, with The Division and de Blob 2 being available to claim for free if you’re an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.
Switching a tad to next-gen news, Microsoft has started mentioning the Xbox Series S in publicly available products – despite not officially announcing the thing -, and CD Projekt RED has announced that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be getting a next-gen edition with ray tracing which is set to be free for all owners of the current-gen edition across console and PC.
Folks who play the array of games in Halo: The Master Chief Collection can look forward to a server browser and cross-play improvements, Ubisoft’s Immortals Fenyx Rising has been revealed via a Microsoft Store leak, and the annual Minecraft Live event is set to arrive virtually on October 3.
In other first-party news, Sea of Thieves: Vaults of the Ancients will launch on September 9, adding heaps of gold, and Flight Simulator’s version 188.8.131.52 patch is now out. The aforementioned sim has gained in excess of one million players, making it the biggest Game Pass launch yet.
And speaking of Game Pass, if you’re on PC, you’re now able to play Crusader Kings III, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Tell Me Why: Chapter Two, Touhou Luna Nights, and World War Z, with Star Renegades arriving September 8. Disgaea 4 Complete+, and Tell Me Why: Chapter Three are set to arrive to the PC subscription on September 10.
For folks on console, the Jackbox Party Pack 4, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Tell Me Why: Chapter Two, and Touhou Luna Nights are available right now, with Hotshot Racing and Tell Me Why: Chapter Three arriving September 10. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep and Forsaken is also coming to Xbox Game Pass for Console, though there’s no date attached just yet.
Finally, it’s worth noting that on September 1, NBA 2K20 was removed from the console subscription, with Red Dead Redemption 2 to be removed on September 7 and Jump Force on September 15. Also on the latter date, Gonner: Blueberry Edition will be removed from both the console and PC subscriptions.
A smattering of updates has surfaced this week, including but not limited to a newly deprecated feature in the May 2020 Update for Windows 10.
This specific feature is the Connect app, which uses Miracast tech and lets folks mirror their display wirelessly to a Windows 10 PC. Due to not a lot of people using it, Microsoft has decided to make this app an optional feature, meaning it can be uninstalled if the user so desires.
In not so great news, though Microsoft was slowly but surely lifting all blocks that prevented people from installing the May 2020 Update, a brand new one was just imposed this week. It concerns devices with LTE modems, users of which may see that the Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) states there’s no connectivity upon waking the device from sleep or hibernation. If you’ve already installed the update, just toggle Airplane mode on and off, which should mitigate this issue.
It's worth highlighting the fact that build 19041.488 for the May 2020 Update also appeared this week, featuring tons of fixes, and that Microsoft has pushed out Intel microcode updates for all supported Windows 10 versions in order to revise mitigations for four Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) threats. These updates are:
May 2020 Update (2004): KB4558130 May 2019 Update / November 2019 Update (1903 and 1909): KB4497165 October 2018 Update (1809): KB4494174 April 2018 Update (1803): KB4494451 Fall Creators Update (1709): KB4494452 Creators Update (1703): KB4494453 Anniversary Update (1607): KB4494175 Windows 10 RTM LTSC (1507): KB4494454 On the Insider side there’s been some activity too, with build 20206 hitting the Dev channel with keyboard and typing improvements in tow, as well as a decently long list of fixes. Microsoft does warn that some users have seen long install times for builds, so patience is required if you want to obtain this shiny and new Insider variant.
Build 20206 of the vNext Server preview also showed up, bringing improvements to the SMB protocol, as well as Storage Migration Services.
Though nowhere near as numerous when compared to those about updates, a couple bits of news popped up this week in regards to the Surface line.
For one, owners of the Surface Laptop 3 15-inch have received new firmware and driver updates. These are meant to address stability and reliability issues that some users may have been confronted with, including ones relating to waking from sleep and even battery reliability. To even get these updates you’ll need to be on Windows 10 1903 (May 2019 Update) or newer, and the rollout of these updates does not seem to be gradual.
What is gradual, if a new report is to be believed, is the availability of the Surface Duo outside of the U.S. market. Wanting to gauge the adoption of the dual-screen device in the United States first, Microsoft is reportedly contemplating an expansion into other markets, but not until the first half of 2021.
Something that folks won’t have to wait quite as long is notification banner customization in the Your Phone app. You’re able to access this feature right now if you’re an Insider, which gives you the ability to choose between three notification banner styles: ‘Hide all content’, ‘Show with sender only’, or ‘Show with previews’. And yes, the app supports the Surface Duo fully, in case you’ve somehow picked up one of those.
Microsoft has shared some details about Teams improvements made in August. A ‘Web Capture’ feature is now being tested in Edge Canary. Edge Dev 86.0.622.3 is the final Edge 86 build. Microsoft has announced a new tool to identify deepfakes and fight disinformation. A redesigned Office app for Windows is reportedly rolling out to some Insiders. PowerToys 0.21.1 is out now with fixes, version 0.22 adds new features. The Microsoft Lists integration in Teams is now GA for businesses. Registration is now open for Microsoft Ignite. Office Insiders on Android now have the option to sync multiple calendars in Outlook. Microsoft has once again warned folks about the removal of Adobe Flash from Edge by the year’s end. A new patent from the Redmond giant has revealed human-like chatbots and conversational agents. Visual Studio Codespaces to be retired, with users being migrated to GitHub Codespaces. Logging off
The Force was with Microsoft back in October of 2019, and it seems it’s still by the software giant’s side on this occasion.
In October of last year, Microsoft won the $10B U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. Once the decision was made public, there were protests, and Amazon even filed a lawsuit in November of the same year, challenging the decision.
According to the eCommerce giant, the contract was given to Microsoft due to “political influence and errors”, with Microsoft stating simply that it offered “significantly superior technology at a better price”.
After re-evaluating the bids and requesting both Amazon and Microsoft to submit revised bids back in March, the DoD has awarded the contract to Microsoft, as originally planned.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.
By Abhishek Baxi
Annual Minecraft Live event coming next month, virtually
by Abhishek Baxi
Mojang Studios has announced that it will host the annual Minecraft event next month on October 3. Minecraft Live is the new avatar of the annual live show which has had names such as MINECON Live and MINECON Earth in the past. MINECON is an annual fan convention about Minecraft, hosted by Mojang. The first gathering in 2010 was known as MinecraftCon.
Minecraft, one of the best-selling video games of all time with over 200 million copies sold and 126 million monthly active players, is a sandbox video game developed by Mojang Studios. Founded in 2009, Mojang Studios is a Swedish video game developer. The company was wholly acquired by Microsoft through Xbox Game Studios (then called Microsoft Studios) in November 2014. In May, the Swedish developer unveiled a new branding and a tweaked name - Mojang Studios (from Mojang, previously) - coinciding with the game's eleventh anniversary.
The event will take place online due to the pandemic – on Minecraft.net/Live - on October 3 at 12 EST. Mojang Studios had earlier announced the delay of Minecraft Festival scheduled for later this year until 2022.
Source: Mojang Studios