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By Abhay V
Xbox Family Settings app now generally available on Android and iOS
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft launched a new Xbox Family Settings app in preview back in May that gave parents a way to enforce game time limits and monitor gaming content for their children, right from Android or iOS. This removed the hassle of heading to the web portal to manage game limits and the like. Today, the company announced that the Xbox Family Settings app is now generally available on Android and iOS, adding that it is just in time for the new school year.
With the app, users can enforce time limits on children's games on a daily or weekly basis. The app also sends activity reports that help gauge console usage. Additionally, the firm has added the ability to extend these limits, something that it says was highly requested. There is the option to let parents filter content availability, based on the age rating for games – to avoid children from accessing games with explicit content.
There are also new features for limiting communication with players, which lets parents block children from chatting with players other than friends. Parents can choose to let their children play E10+ rated games like Minecraft and also enable multiplayer.
In addition to these features, the Redmond giant has added the ability to accept or deny requests for extending screen time and accepting friend requests for their children right from the notifications section in the app. Caregivers can also manage users’ friend lists.
The general availability of the Xbox Family Settings app comes just a few months after the company made the Family Safety app widely available. The firm says that it plans to add more features to the offering in the future to better help parents and caregivers govern console usage and game time limits. You can head to the Google Play Store here or the Apple App Store here to download the app.
1TB SSD for Xbox Series X and S shows up online for pre-order at $220
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft's upcoming Xbox consoles, the Series X and S, are the company's first to come with internal SSDs for storage, but not only that, they're using what Microsoft calls the Xbox Velocity Architecture. With technologies like DirectStorage and Sampler Feedback Streaming, the internal SSD offers speeds up to 2.4GB/s for raw data, but Microsoft is also giving users the ability to expand that storage with new custom external SSDs that match the speeds of the internal drive, and now, we know how much they'll cost.
Seagate's 1TB Game Drive for the Xbox Series X and S has gone up for pre-order on Best Buy, and it comes with a $219.99 price tag. This is a PCIe Gen4 x2 SSD, and considering the 1TB capacity, it's not too far off from standard SSDs with similar specs. However, the Xbox Series S ships with a smaller 512GB SSD inside, and it doesn't support discs, so there's a good chance you'll need to spend those extra $219.99 on top of the console's price, bringing the total cost north of $500.
You can also use traditional external drives to expand your storage, be it an SSD or HDD, but games designed for Xbox Series X and S won't run from these slower drives. You can only use these to carry your games from previous generations.
Just like the console itself and other accessories, the new Game Drive is set to ship on November 10, so you can pre-order it today to get it at launch.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft will have more Xbox Series X and S consoles at launch
by Rich Woods
Yesterday, after a long wait, pre-orders went live for the Xbox Series X and the lower-powered Xbox Series S. As you can probably imagine, both consoles were sold out pretty quickly. If you still want one on day one, don't worry, as you'll still get a chance.
Microsoft confirmed via Twitter that retailers will have additional units available on launch day. It's not surprising, as it's common for companies with popular products to want to offer an in-store experience to fans that want one. For example, Apple's iPhones tend to sell out on day one, but it always has a stock in Apple Stores for those camping out overnight to be one of the first with the new smartphone.
Another thing the company said was to sign up with retailers for updates. This implies that there will be additional units coming in stock for pre-orders. But of course, you'll want to stay on top of it. Sign up with as many retailers as you can, and when someone says that it has the model you want, act fast.
As noted in the tweet, the next-generation Xbox consoles are set to arrive on November 10.
You can now pre-order the Xbox Series X and S to get them on November 10
by João Carrasqueira
The day is finally here. You can now pre-order Microsoft's next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and S. Both consoles feature similar architectures and share some features, but the Series X is the more powerful and expensive of the two.
First announced at The Game Awards last year, the Series X has an octa-core AMD Zen2-based CPU clocked at 3.8GHz, and an AMD RDNA2 GPU with 52 compute units running at 1.825GHz, making for a total of 12.15 TFLOPS of performance. Additionally, it has 16GB of RAM, 10GB of which have bandwidth up to 560GB/s, while the remaining 6GB have a slower 336GB/s speed, and it comes with a 1TB NVMe SSD. All of that allows the console to target 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, with support for up to 120 frames per second. It also has a disc drive for those that prefer physical games.
The Xbox Series X costs $499 and you can get it here. You can also get it with Xbox All Access for $34.99 per month, including Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for two years.
The Xbox Series S was rumored for a long time, and finally got announced just this month. It features a slightly slower CPU running at 3.6GHz, and a less powerful GPU with 20 compute units running at 1.565GHz, making for a total of 4 TFLOPS of performance. With the lower power, the console targets 1440p resolution at 60 frames per second, though 120 frames per second gameplay is also supported. There's just 10GB of RAM, 8GB of which have 224GB/s of bandwidth, with the remaining 2GB being slower at 56GB/s, and the SSD is also smaller at 512GB. The SSD on both consoles supports speeds up to 4.8Gbps, and both are expandable with a 1TB expansion card. The Series S also doesn't have a disc drive, so all games will be digital.
The Xbox Series S costs $299 and you can get it here. It's also available with Xbox All Access, but for just $24.99 per month.
Finally, if you're interested, there are some accessories available for preorder, as Microsoft announced yesterday. The new Xbox Wireless Controller can be had in an all-new Shock Blue color in addition to Carbon Black or Robot White for $59.99, and there's a new Rechargeable Battery + USB Type-C bundle for $24.99. PC gamers can also get the Xbox Wireless Controller bundled with a wireless adapter or with a USB Type-C cable for wired use.
Microsoft reveals new Xbox Wireless Controller edition, Design Lab going offline temporarily
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft is on a roll with Xbox-related announcements today, and it has now announced a handful of new accessories being added to the lineup alongside the launch of the Xbox Series X and S on November 10.
First and foremost, Microsoft introduced a new color variant for the next-generation Xbox Wireless Controller. After the Carbon Black that ships with the Xbox Series X and the Robot White that comes with the Series S, Microsoft has now revealed Shock Blue, a new edition that will be sold separately. It has a blue faceplate in a completely new shade for the company, and that same blue spreads over to the analog sticks and menu buttons. The top portion, where you find the shoulder triggers and buttons, is black, and the back is white.
Additionally, for those that prefer playing on PC, Microsoft is updating its controller bundles to come with the next-generation Xbox Wireless Controller. Whether you're looking to get the controller bundled with the wireless adapter or with a USB Type-C cable, you'll find the Carbon Black version of the controller inside.
If you're not a fan of the new controller using AA batteries, Microsoft is also introducing the Rechargeable Battery + USB Type-C cable bundle, a successor to the Play & Charge Kit with a much more boring name. It serves the same function, but now with a USB Type-C cable instead of micro-USB, and it charges your controller in "under four hours".
Finally, Microsoft revealed that Xbox Design Lab, the tool that lets customers fully customize their Xbox Wireless Controller, is going offline temporarily starting October 14. The service will come back in 2021 with some unspecified updates. If you've been pondering one of the current designs, you'll need to do it before then.
All of the new accessories are shipping November 10, but you can preorder them at the same time as the new Xbox Series S and X, which is to say September 22, at 8AM Pacific Time. The new Xbox Wireless Controller can be had in any of the three existing colors for the same $59.99 price as the current models. The Rechargeable Battery + USB Type-C cable bundle will cost $24.99. The PC-oriented controller bundles - either with the wireless adapter or with a USB Type-C cable - weren't given prices as of yet.