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Games with Gold: Darksiders III and Lost Planet 3 are now free
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Microsoft announced the August Games with Gold titles earlier this week, revealing an exciting selection of incoming experiences, and already the first wave is available for claiming. Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members can now grab Darksiders III and Lost Planet 3 as their latest bonus games.
As for who can get what, Darksiders III is available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, while Lost Planet 3 is up for grabs across the Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S generations.
The Microsoft Store links listed below can be used to directly add the games to a Gold activated account:
Darksiders III (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S)
Lost Planet 3 (Xbox 360, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)
For those who missed it, Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break from the last Games with Gold wave still has two weeks left on its counter before it leaves the program. The strategy game will be replaced by Yooka-Laylee on August 16.
As always, games claimed through a Games with Gold promotion are attached to accounts in different ways depending on their launch platforms. Xbox 360 titles will continue being playable even after the Gold subscription is discontinued, but Xbox One games are only playable while the account has an active subscription.
By Usama Jawad96
Skype for Business Online is being retired today
by Usama Jawad
Two years ago, Microsoft announced that it is retiring Skype for Business Online on July 31, 2021, that is today. It tapped Teams as the successor to the communication tool, and urged organizations to migrate to the company's latest offering as soon as possible. The Redmond tech giant also stated that the move communicates its confidence in Teams. As such, Skype for Business Online is being retired today.
For context, Microsoft has been strongly pushing Teams for both business and consumer use-cases recently. In fact, the software even has deeper integration with Windows 11, and is currently being tested by Insiders. The firm has been planning the migration from Skype for Business Online to Teams since October 2017, with the latter also achieving feature parity in August 2018.
Microsoft says that since it originally announced the retirement date in 2019, it has conducted hundreds of workshops and millions of transitions with customers. Organizations that have not yet upgraded to Teams Only mode will be offered Microsoft-assisted upgrades, which will begin in August 2021. Until their assisted upgrade is complete, they are free to use Skype for Business Online. Once they have been moved to Teams Only mode, they will not be able to revert the change.
For companies which use Skype for Business Online only, a tenant policy change will be applied to shift all users to Teams Only mode. Meanwhile, those in hybrid environments will also be migrated to the same mode but Skype for Business Server users will remain unaffected and on-premises. Microsoft says that most organizations will be transitioned to Teams Only mode within 24 hours of initiating the assisted upgrade process.
Microsoft has published guidance over here for those interested in finding out how to move meetings data and contacts from Skype for Business Online to Teams, among other things. It is important to note that after today, Skype for Business Online will not be accessible, but other related components such as Skype consumer service, Skype for Business Server, and the Skype for Business Online variant running on the China Sovereign Clouds Instance will continue to work as usual.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft accidentally leaked Halo Infinite campaign details, so beware of spoilers
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft's highly-anticipated AAA title Halo Infinite is scheduled for a release this fall, but a technical preview for the multiplayer component was made available for Halo Insiders just a couple of days ago. While the feedback regarding multiplayer gameplay - albeit, with bots - has been fairly positive so far, those interested in the campaign might be in for a unpleasant surprise.
Following some leaks on the internet, Joseph Staten, the project lead for the campaign in Halo Infinite, has confirmed that Microsoft inadvertently included some campaign files in the tech preview of the multiplayer release. He tweeted that:
Naturally, data miners who don't mind the game being spoiled for them have extracted the campaign files in question, and information has leaked on to the web. The Verge has discovered a plaintext dump containing 800 lines of text from the campaign. According to the outlet, the strings describe some quests, plot points, and unfortunately, even a major plot twist that likely takes places towards the end of the game.
Needless to say, we won't be linking to or reporting about the spoilers themselves, but those interested in the Halo Infinite campaign need to keep their guard up when browsing the web.
By Usama Jawad96
Forza Motorsport 7 is being removed from storefronts in September
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft's Turn 10 Studios released Forza Motorsport 7 back in October 2017, to high praise. We awarded it a 9/10 rating in our review, praising the dynamic weather system, multiplayer capabilities, and the wide assortment of cars and tracks on offer. However, the developer has now announced that the game is being delisted from storefront in September.
In a blog post, the company mentioned that Forza Motorsport 7 will hit its end of life status on September 15, 2021. This essentially means that the title and its DLC will be delisted from the Microsoft Store and won't be available on Game Pass either. That said, players who already own the game will still be able to re-download it and play as usual, including online services.
Game Pass players who purchased DLC but not the title itself will also be given a token for the full game through the Xbox Message Center. This token will be provided by August 2, and is redeemable up until September 15, 2023. Additionally, Forza Motorsport 7 is up for a massive discount until September 15, 2021. The Standard Edition can now be purchased for $9.99 (previously $39.99), Deluxe costs $14.99 (previously $59.99), and Ultimate can be yours for $19.99 (previously $79.99).
The reason for the game being delisted just four years after launch is quite simple, albeit unfortunate. All Forza titles utilize licenses to use real names of cars, tracks, and brands. Once these third-party licenses expire, these games have to depart from storefronts. The in-engine trailer for the next Forza Motorsport was already shown a year ago while Forza Horizon 5 is scheduled for a launch this November as well.
By News Staff
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by Steven Parker
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