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Games with Gold: Slayaway Camp Butcher's Cut and Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy are now free
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
The first wave of October's Games with Gold is already here, arriving shortly after the game reveal announcement from yesterday. Two more games can now be claimed by Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members as a part of their perks. This time Microsoft is offering Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut for Xbox One and the original Xbox title Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy for Xbox 360.
Keep in mind that the latter can also be claimed by those who own Xbox One consoles thanks to the classic game being in the backward compatibility program.
A Gold activated account should be used to claim the duo using the store links listed below:
Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut (Xbox One)
Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy (Xbox 360 and Xbox One)
Xbox One Gold members who missed out on The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 from the previous freebie wave still have until October 15 to claim the title before it is replaced with Maid of Sker. Meanwhile, Game Pass Ultimate holders have five more games coming at them in the first week of October.
Keep in mind that all Xbox 360 games claimed via these Games with Gold promotions will keep being playable even if the Xbox Live Gold subscription is discontinued. However, claimed Xbox One games are only available while the account is actively subscribed to Gold.
By Namerah S
Torchlight III releases on October 13 for PS4, Xbox One and PC, NS version announced
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
At the beginning of this year, it was revealed that Torchlight Frontier was renamed to Torchlight III, ditching its MMO elements. In June, the action RPG made its way to Early Access on Steam, with Acts 1 and 2 available to play for $29.99. Back then, a release date for the full launch of Torchlight III was not known.
Today developer Echtra Games finally unveiled the release date for the complete version of Torchlight III for multiple platforms. The ARPG will be making its way to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC platforms on October 13, 2020. Players who bought the game through Early Access on Steam will be upgraded to the complete version free of charge.
Max Schaefer, CEO of Echtra Games commented on the upcoming release:
As for the price, the full version of Torchlight III will be available to purchase for current-gen consoles and PC via Steam at the price of $39.99. It was also revealed that a Nintendo Switch version of the latest Torchlight title will launch at some point later this year.
By Rich Woods
Xbox Games with Gold for October include Maid of Sker, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, and more
by Rich Woods
Microsoft revealed today that the Games with Gold program is returning next month with another batch of four games for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. This time around, there are the usual two Xbox One games, but the other two are split between one Xbox 360 game and one game for the original Xbox. Obviously, they can all be played on the company's current generation of consoles, and they'll actually be available to play on the next generation of consoles as well.
Here are the free Games with Gold titles announced today and their arrival dates:
Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut (Xbox One, October 1 - 31)
Maid of Sker (Xbox One, October 16 - November 15)
Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy (Xbox, Ocrtober 1 - 15)
Costume Quest (Xbox 360, October 16 - 31)
As usual, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers need to claim their games between the designated dates, and if they cancel their subscription, they'll only be able to keep the Xbox and Xbox 360 games.
There's still time left to claim some of last month's Games with Gold. You've got until the end of the month to grab The Division (Xbox One) and Armed and Dangerous (Xbox 360), and you've got until October 15 to claim de Blob 2 (Xbox One).
By Asher Madan
Xbox Deals with Gold feature The Division, Watch Dogs, and more
by Asher Madan
Every week, Microsoft and select publishers discount a number of titles for a weekly Deals with Gold sale. This week, games from The Division, Watch Dogs, and other franchises are available for substantially less. Below, you'll find the Xbox One and Xbox 360 games with their respective discounts.
All of the Xbox 360 games appear to be backward compatible so you'll be able to play them on your Xbox One and the upcoming Xbox Series X|S.
Which titles are you interested in? Did you pick any up? Let us know in the comments below.
Microsoft Weekly: ZeniMax Media joins XGS, Ignite 2020, and the October 2020 Update
by Florin Bodnarescu
This week, perhaps more so than others, has been a big one in terms of Microsoft news. A massive acquisition on the gaming side, a whole bunch of Ignite 2020 announcements, and even an alleged source code leak for Windows XP, all happened in the last seven days. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of September 19 - 25.
ZeniMax Media joins XGS
In a move that came pretty much out of nowhere, Microsoft announced on Monday the second largest acquisition in gaming, behind only Tencent’s $8.6B Supercell (Clash of Clans) buyout.
Penned by Xbox head Phil Spencer, the post published at the top of the week outlined the fact that Microsoft has entered into an agreement to buy ZeniMax Media, parent company of ZeniMax Online Studios, publisher Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Roundhouse Studios, and Alpha Dog for a cool $7.5 billion dollars.
As a result of this, the Xbox Game Studios first-party organization has grown pretty much overnight from 15 to 23 studios, and Microsoft now has the rights to IPs like Dishonored, Wolfenstein, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Starfield, The Evil Within, Prey, Rune, and many more.
Following up on the news, all of the ZeniMax games will be coming to Game Pass day one, which is sure to boost the subscription’s newly announced 15 million subscriber milestone. To put this into perspective, the service was launched in 2017 and grew to 10 million by April of this year. In a little under five months, another five million subscribers have joined. In case you were doubtful that the Game Pass launch would be the case, Doom Eternal is set to be made available on the subscription starting October 1.
More gaming news was also present this week, with the Xbox beta mobile app launching on Android, the new Microsoft Store for Xbox being made available for everyone, a new Xbox Wireless Controller edition being shown, and Deals with Gold bringing in Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil, and more.
Circling back to app launches, the Xbox app is also available in beta on iOS, with the Xbox Family Settings app hitting GA on both iOS and Android.
For folks eager to get their hands on next-gen consoles, this was a big week too, as both the Xbox Series S and Series X went up for pre-order and soon were sold out. Microsoft did promise to have more units at launch on November 10. If you pre-ordered from Amazon, you might’ve gotten an email about your pre-orders being delayed due to demand. Lastly, if you’re curious just how much the 1TB SSD expansion card for the next-gen Microsoft consoles is going to cost, it has showed up for pre-order online priced at $220.
While you wait for next-gen, here are the best Xbox One games launched this week. Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention Halo 3: ODST PC – check out our review for more details about the port -, the fact that the next Halo: MCC flight will test cross-play and input-based matchmaking, or that Flight Simulator has gotten an SDK update and new Marketplace products, along with the announcement of a Japan map update as its first content drop.
To wrap up this section, be sure to check out our five reasons to buy the Xbox Series consoles, our top five reasons to buy the PlayStation 5, then go ahead and give your two cents in regards to what the future of gaming looks like.
This week was also host to the first of Microsoft’s two planned Ignite events – the second being held in March next year -, where the company unveiled a number of cloud and platform updates.
First and foremost, the software giant plans to become water positive (meaning that it will replenish more water than it uses by way of stressed basins) by the year 2030. Also in the field of general betterment, Microsoft announced that its Cloud for Healthcare will hit GA next month, and that the InnerEye Deep Learning Toolkit is now available. The latter’s release is to aid in the improvement of patient care.
While the company’s Azure business unit has indeed taken off in recent years, no part of it has done it quite like this before, as at Ignite it was announced that the cloud platform now includes Azure Orbital. This is a new managed service which provides access to physical satellite communication capabilities in order to process and analyze the data via Azure. This announcement also coincides with the reveal of the new Azure Communication Services, a new managed communication platform making its way to Microsoft’s cloud.
Continuing this same theme, low-code updates in Power Platform for both GitHub and Azure have now hit the preview stage, while Power BI for Teams and a Premium Per User tier have been announced too. If you’re curious about what exactly the Power Platform is, or what it offers, be sure to check out this interview with Microsoft’s Arun Ulag, by way of our very own Hamza Jawad.
In other service announcements, Dynamics 365 Customer Service now has a voice channel, while Dynamics 365 Project Operations has hit the general availability phase. In addition, the OS sandbox offering from the Redmond giant (Windows Virtual Desktop) has gotten a bunch of new capabilities, Microsoft 365 Defender and Azure Defender are now unified under Microsoft Defender, and HoloLens 2 availability has been expanded in light of demand due to COVID-19.
For the collaboration part of the announcements, Cortana has gained some new features, like the daily briefing email feature now being GA for Microsoft 365 Enterprise users, and Teams is set to increase the maximum number of team members you can have to 25,000 later this year. Changes are coming to Outlook and Microsoft 365 too, like a new UI in Bookings and Search getting integrated into Teams, with the Bot Framework Composer also being made available as an open-source tool.
Worthy of note is also the fact that LinkedIn’s site and mobile app are getting a massive redesign, Microsoft 365 is getting a next-gen Compliance Manager, Microsoft Forms is now available in the Office mobile app – with a Teams integration also being made accessible -, and that Microsoft is set to release a new perpetual license version of Office next year.
Rounding off this set of announcements is the arrival of the much-awaited dark theme for OneDrive on the web later this month (among other features), the arrival of App Assure to Windows on ARM, shared MSIX containers, and other Windows platform features coming soon, the GA of version 1.3 for Windows Terminal, and the fact that Microsoft has obtained an exclusive license to OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model.
The October 2020 Update
We finally get to some Windows update news too, as Microsoft has released build 20221 to the Dev channel, featuring a new Meet Now video conferencing feature. You can check out our overview here.
Beyond the new feature, there’s also a bunch of fixes and improvements to components like Windows Update itself, with the known issues list still being rather long. We’re talking about an Insider build here, after all.
And speaking of Insiders, those in the Beta and Release Preview channels were greeted with build 19042.541 of the 20H2 branch. Due to this being part of the very soon to be released October 2020 Update, it contains just fixes, as is to be expected. For an overview of what’s coming in 20H2, also known as the Windows 10 October 2020 Update, make sure to check out our guide here.
Swift has made its way to Windows 10, with toolchain images now being available. Google has brought Flutter to Windows in Alpha, UWP support to be added soon. The Surface Laptop 3 has gotten some firmware updates to address screen and keyboard issues. Microsoft’s Surface Pro X has recently benefitted from firmware updates too. Pre-orders for the long-awaited 85-inch Surface Hub 2S are now open, with the device shipping in January. Microsoft is allegedly working on a mid-range 12.5-inch Surface laptop, priced at $699. The Microsoft Launcher now has updated app icons, and improved performance, thanks to the newest update. Logging off
We end with some bad news for Microsoft, and some good news for the Linux community.
Starting with the bad, Microsoft’s leaks seem to have reached critical mass, with the source code for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 allegedly leaking online.
In addition to packages containing just XP and Server 2003, there are also ones containing a few of the previous leaks, plus MS-DOS 3.30, MS-DOS 6, Windows CE 3, 4, 5, and others. Though this may be an interesting set of files to dive into for our more inquisitive readers, it’s best you stay away from these, especially given the dubious source.
In better news, and altogether something you’re definitely going to benefit from being curious about, Microsoft has shared some more details about Edge’s upcoming Sleeping Tabs feature, and released Edge Dev 87.0.644.4 featuring dark theme support in sidebar search.
And last but not least, in a development that’s sure to please fans of the browser on Linux, Edge will be entering preview in October, with folks who are fans of that OS finally being able to get their hands on it.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.