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Minecraft Dungeons gets cross-platform cloud saves, but you have to sync manually
by João Carrasqueira
Mojang Studios' Minecraft dungeon-crawler spin-off Minecraft Dungeons was launched almost one year ago on all major platforms at the time, but it was oddly missing the ability to carry your save data across different devices if you chose to buy the game on more than one console. Now, the developers have announced that the feature is available as part of today's update for the game, version 22.214.171.124.
Cloud saves will allow players to sync their Heroes to the cloud, which they can then use to play on another console. However, the process isn't as automatic or fluid as some might hope. The game's Hero Select screen will have a new option that allows you to upload a specific Hero to the cloud, as well as download them to your console if you've already uploaded one. You have to do this manually every time you switch platforms, and there's a limit of 20 heroes that can be saved on the cloud at any given time.
Additionally, it's worth noting that DLC purchases don't carry over from platform to platform, so if you have equipped items from a specific DLC pack, they will be removed from your Hero when you load it up on a platform where you haven't bought the DLC. You also can't play on DLC maps unless you buy them on the platform you want to play on.
There have been four DLC packs released since the game's launch, so to be unable to carry over those purchases across platforms is likely going to be a problem for many players, and it takes away a significant portion of the impact of cloud saves. Regardless, if you happen to have bought the game and its DLC packs across more than one platform, this may be good news for you. Earlier this year, Mojang announced that over 10 million people had bought Minecraft Dungeons, so there's a solid fanbase that might have use for the feature.
Aside from that, today's patch includes a number of fixes and tweaks, including multiple crashes that have been addressed and a handful of other issues. The game is also now available in Chinese Traditional and Simplified variants across all platforms.
By Asher Madan
Xbox Deals with Gold feature Borderlands 3, Control, 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 like Borderlands 3, Control, and more are available for substantially less. The Spring Add-On Sale is also going on this week. Below, you'll find Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 games with their respective discounts. The deals and games marked with an asterisk are only valid for Xbox Live Gold members, so you'll need an active paid subscription for the additional discount.
Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
Some of the games are also backward compatible so you can play them on your Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One. Unfortunately, there isn't much more going on if you still only own an Xbox 360.
Which titles are you interested in? Did you buy any up? Let us know in the comments below.
Almost 100 games now support FPS Boost on Xbox Series X|S
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft's FPS Boost technology can allow backwards compatible games to obtain higher framerates on the latest Xbox Series X|S consoles, and it debuted a couple of months ago with just five games, eventually growing to 23 supported titles with two subsequent updates. Now, Microsoft has dropped the biggest update to FPS Boost yet, more than quadrupling the total number of supported games for a total of 97 titles.
The blog post detailing every game that supports FPS Boost was updated today, as spotted by Twitter user Wario64, and it includes plenty of notable games and franchises including Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and many more. Out of the 97 games supported, 42 can now run at up to 120Hz if you have an Xbox Series X, while the Series S can only deliver the same framerate on 31 of them.
Here's the full list of newly-added supported games:
Alien Isolation Anthem Assassin’s Creed III Remastered Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection Assassin’s Creed Unity Battle Chasers: Nightwar Battlefield Hardline Beholder Complete Edition Dead Island Definitive Edition Dead Island: Riptide Definitive Edition Deus Ex Mankind Divided DiRT 4 Dishonored: Death of the Outsider Don’t Starve: Giant Edition Dragon Age: Inquisition Dungeon Defenders II Dying Light Far Cry 5 Far Cry New Dawn Far Cry Primal Gears of War 4 Golf with your Friends Halo Wars 2 Halo: Spartan Assault Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition Homefront: The Revolution Hyperscape Island Saver LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham LEGO Jurassic World LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 LEGO Marvel Superheroes LEGO Marvel’s Avengers LEGO STAR WARS: The Force Awakens LEGO The Hobbit LEGO The Incredibles LEGO Worlds Life is Strange Life is Strange 2 Lords of the Fallen Mad Max Metro 2033 Redux Metro: Last Light Redux Monster Energy Supercross 3 MotoGP 20 Moving Out My Friend Pedro My Time at Portia Overcooked! 2 Paladins Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid Prey Realm Royale ReCore Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition Shadow Warrior 2 Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition SMITE Steep Super Lucky’s Tale SUPERHOT The Evil Within 2 (PsychoBreak 2 in Japan) The Gardens Between The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame The LEGO Movie Videogame Tom Clancy’s The Division Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Totally Reliable Delivery Service Two Point Hospital Unruly Heroes Untitled Goose Game Wasteland 3 Watch_Dogs Yakuza 6: The Song of Life It's worth noting that 20 out of the 97 games supported by FPS Boost will have the feature off by default on the Xbox Series X, which usually means that sacrifices have to be made in resolution to obtain the higher framerate, thus Microsoft believes it's best for players to choose how they prefer to play.
Microsoft also points out that many of the games that support FPS Boost are available as part of a Game Pass subscription, so this is yet another boon subscribers are getting at no additional cost.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft planned to reduce Xbox store cut to 12% like PC, but will no longer do so
by Usama Jawad
Last week, Microsoft announced that it will give game developers an 88% revenue cut for titles sold through the Microsoft Store for PC after August 1. This is a notable increase over the current 70-30 split and would bring the storefront in parity with the Epic Games Store, which is also popular among developers for this compelling revenue sharing option, among other things.
Now, it has been revealed that Microsoft investigated the possibility of doing the same for the Microsoft Store for Xbox, but no longer plans on doing so.
As spotted by The Verge, court documents filed a few days ago, but created back in January include a statement in the Microsoft Store on Xbox section that "all games will move to 88/12 in CY21", in line with what Microsoft recently disclosed for PC games only. The company also mentioned that:
However, in a statement to The Verge, the Redmond tech giant indicated that it does not plan to update the revenue sharing split for console publishers.
That said, it is important to note that we do not know if this proposal even progressed far enough to be communicated with publishers. Another interesting observation is regarding giving all streaming rights to Microsoft, since nothing of the sort was publicly announced for PC publishing a few days ago.
The court document in question is from the Epic Games vs. Apple trial that will start today. The spat about revenue sharing between the firms began back in August 2020, with both finally set to have their day in court. Microsoft has sided with Epic Games so far, and the company's VP of Xbox business development, Lori Wright, has also been called as a third-party witness.
Microsoft Weekly: More money for PC game devs, an update fix, and a very strong quarter
by Florin Bodnarescu
The last seven days saw the arrival of a rather impressive Q3 FY21 earnings report, the implementation of a bigger cut for PC game devs, and even a fix for the update that caused all sorts of gaming performance issues. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of April 25 – May 1.
More money for PC game devs
We should open with what is perhaps the bigger news of the week – at least in terms of gaming -, namely that Microsoft will be lowering its cut from 30% to 12%. This will impact PC game devs specifically, and is set to take effect starting in August. Not just that, the firm is also promising “improved reliability and faster download speeds” are coming, with the Microsoft Store proper set to receive a UI update too.
Adding yet another piece to the strategy puzzle above is Halo Infinite, which is set to feature cross-play and cross-progression between Xbox and PC when it arrives later this year. It could be argued that so is the rumored exclusive AAA fantasy game that Hitman developer IO Interactive is putting together for Microsoft.
Staying on the subject just a tad longer, there’s now something called Xbox Academy, meant to inspire UK kids to get into game development. If you’re in the UK but are not a kid though, EE has a new deal whereby you get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and unlimited data for £10 per month.
For folks looking forward to playing Fall Guys on Xbox consoles, the party game has been delayed out of summer, though there are a number of Deals with Gold to keep you company until the game releases, as are the May Games with Gold titles like Armello, Lego Batman – both of which are available to claim now – Dungeons 3, and Tropico 4 to take a peek at.
An update fix
Perhaps not surprising, as it’s been the case for quite a while, Microsoft released its usual set of Patch Tuesday updates on April 13. That said, one of these updates caused a number of issues related to performance while gaming, causing even Nvidia to recommend that folks uninstall the pesky latest patch.
Happily however, Microsoft has released what it calls a Known Issue Rollback or KIR update that essentially disables the code of the offending update, thus mitigating the problem.
In addition to this, the firm also released a set of optional updates for those on Windows 10 v2004 and 20H2, which brought the News and Interests feature to these variants of the OS. It bears repeating that these are optional, i.e. you’ll need to search for and install them. While Microsoft did say it would bring this capability to Windows 10 1909 and above, as per AdDuplex, more than 80% of users are already on the two latest versions of the OS, hence why the optional set of updates was made available in this way.
Insiders in the various channels also got some builds to play with, as the Redmond giant pushed out build 21363.1011 to the Dev channel to test the servicing pipeline, followed by 21370 which ushered in improvements to Bluetooth audio management.
For multi-monitor users, a bug that’s been around since times immemorial has been confirmed to have been fixed. What happens is that when you have an external monitor connected, and your device goes to sleep, all the windows you had moved to your second (external) monitor move to your primary device (laptop, 2-in-1, or whichever other device you have). As per Michelle Xiong, PM of the Graphics Team, the issue has been addressed as of preview build 21287 and newer.
Another change is the one that hit the Beta and Release Preview rings in the form of Feature Experience Pack v120.2212.3740.0, which removes “nonfunctional hyperlinks from the Input Method Editor (IME) candidate window.”
And speaking of the various channels, the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, otherwise known under its 21H1 development codename, is now available in the Release Preview channel, sporting build 19043.962. If you want to get your hands on it right now, here’s how.
A very strong quarter
Right on cue, Microsoft released its earnings report for Q3 of its fiscal year 2021 – the quarter ending March 31. The firm posted a very impressive $41.7B in revenue (up 19%), with operating income rising 31% to $17B, and a net income of $15.5B (up 38%).
The three business categories, Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing brought in $13.6B (up 15%), $15.1B (up 23%), and $13B (up 19%), respectively.
Starting with the first one, we see an increase of 14% in Office Commercial products and cloud services revenue, a 22% increase in Office 365 Commercial revenue, and 15% increase in seats. For the non-cloud offerings, there was a decline of 25%, while LinkedIn revenue grew 25%, and Dynamics products and cloud services grew 26%. Dynamics 365 revenue itself grew by an impressive 45%. It’s also worth mentioning that Teams, the firm’s ‘chat-based workspace’ solution has crossed the 145 million daily active user threshold.
Moving onto the second category, Intelligent Cloud, server products and cloud services revenue increased by 26% off the back of a very impressive 50% growth in Azure revenue. For the on-premise and hybrid service solutions revenue there was a 3% increase, while the install base for Enterprise Mobility grew by 30%, crossing the 174 million seat mark.
Last, but most certainly not least, More Personal Computing saw an increase of 10% for Windows OEM revenue, with non-Pro revenue seeing a 44% uptick (offset by a 2% downturn in Pro revenue). Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue did however increase by 10%. Windows 10 itself is now on more than 1.3 billion active devices.
Additionally, Surface revenue grew by 12% to more than $1.5B, while Search adverting revenue was up 17%.
The gaming side saw increases too, with revenues growing by 50% as Xbox hardware revenue rose by 232% due to Series X and S demand, while Xbox content and services revenue – which includes first-party titles, third-party titles, and Game Pass subscriptions – was up 34%.
Microsoft Defender is now able to use Intel’s CPU-based machine learning to detect cryptojacking. Microsoft’s Viva Learning platform is now in public preview. The Redmond firm has published an advisory regarding the importance of keeping Exchange Server up-to-date. A new ad has been released for Surface Laptop 4, which pokes fun at the MacBook Air, while owners of the Surface Pro X with SQ2 processors have gotten a bunch of firmware updates. Staying a little longer on the subject, the firm is also rumored to be working on a dedicated app for its Modern hardware accessories. Coursera and Microsoft are now offering new Azure specializations and scholarships. A new Power BI On-premises data gateway update has brought PowerShell enhancements, among other features. Microsoft has unveiled a new effort to help people with disabilities find jobs in the UK. Bytecode Alliance has welcomed Microsoft, Google, and others to its ranks. PowerToys v0.37 is now out with a number of improvements. Skype for Web now supports Safari on the desktop and on iOS. Microsoft has detailed the various new features added to Microsoft 365 apps in April, including those for Teams, Excel on the web – including the Show Changes feature. Remaining in the same space a little longer, Office Insiders on iOS now have the ability to merge PDFs via the unified Office app. GitHub has added an HTTP header to block Google’s FLoC, while version 2.8 of GitHub Desktop has added improvements to diffs, among other changes. Logging off
We end the week with an assortment of news, from Edge, to a new default font in Office, to the Build conference.
Let’s start with Edge, the Canary variant of which now allows you to send tabs and links to other devices, while Edge Dev has just been made available to folks on Android, more specifically build 91.0.864.11.
This is perhaps a little interesting in terms of timing, as the Beta channel has just gotten Edge 91 – complete with built-in theming support -, while the Dev channel proper has moved on to the first Edge 92 build, 92.0.873.1.
Moving on to another Microsoft solution, namely Office, the firm is looking to replace Calibri as the default font for the productivity suite. Replacing the previous default, Times New Roman, Calibri has been around since the introduction of Office 2007.
The company feels that it needs to be replaced, and it announced that it’s commissioned five different fonts – Tenorite, Bierstadt, Skeena, Seaford, and Grandview – out of which the new default will be chosen. As for the actual process of choosing, this will be done via Microsoft 365’s Twitter profile, with the most popular of the five fonts being crowned as the new default typeface.
Although the timing of the availability for the new font isn’t quite clear, what is clear is that registrations for the Build 2021 conference are now open. Set to take place May 25 through 27, the event will likely showcase a number of developer-focused announcements and, possibly, the “next generation of Windows” and the Sun Valley visual refresh as teased by Panos Panay for the second half of this year.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.
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