Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
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).
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.
By Usama Jawad96
Top 5 reasons you should buy an Xbox Series X, S console
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft's next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and the Series S, are just around the corner. While the consoles officially launch on November 10 across the globe, they were made available for pre-order a few days ago and sold out quite quickly at most storefronts. For those who could not get their hands on the consoles, Microsoft says that it will have more units available for purchase on launch day.
However, if you're still on the fence about whether you should lighten your wallet on either or both of Microsoft's next-generation consoles, we have listed down top 5 reasons why you should consider the company's offering, which will hopefully make it easier for you to reach a decision. Note that this list is not in order of importance.
Xbox Game Pass
With the next-generation of console gaming, Microsoft is relying quite heavily on pulling gamers into its ecosystem using Xbox Game Pass. For those unaware, the service gives you instant access to over 100 games at $9.99/month. First-party titles such as the upcoming AAA Halo: Infinite become available on launch day, with high-quality titles from third-party publishers available in the catalog as well. Microsoft recently partnered with Electronic Arts to bring EA Play to Game Pass, offering access to all games on the EA service at no additional cost too.
The company also provides a $14.99/month price tier for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which offers all of the above on both consoles and PC, cloud gaming on smartphones (currently in beta), and Xbox Live Gold - which gives a handful of games to subscribers for free every month.
Microsoft recently announced that Game Pass now has over 15 million subscribers, with the service growing at a rapid rate. Simply put, the value of Xbox Game Pass is too good to be ignored.
Affordable Console for those on a Budget
Microsoft turned quite a few heads when news about the Xbox Series S leaked. While its more powerful sibling priced at $499 is targeted at 4K gaming with up to 120fps, the $299 Series S is aimed at delivering the same experience at 1440p resolution. While there is obviously a difference in specifications based on the power they are supposed to deliver, both consoles offer powerful internals and the same capabilities such as Quick Resume, ray-tracing, and more.
All in all, it's great to have an low-priced entry point into the next-generation for those on a budget or people who currently don't own 4K-capable hardware, and don't plan to in the near-future either. Similarly, it's also an attractive price point for people who don't purchase physical games, as the Series S is all-digital.
Only time will tell if the difference between the output of the two consoles is solely resolution, but it's definitely an enticing option to have.
Xbox All Access
Xbox All Access is Microsoft's leasing program that allows you to purchase the company's consoles with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at a low single monthly fee. For $24.99/month, you can purchase an Xbox Series S coupled with the subscription. For $34.99/month, you get similar treatment but with the more powerful Xbox Series X.
Once again, this is incredible value, especially for those who cannot afford to shell out several hundred bucks at once. This year, the leasing program will be available in 12 countries around the world, and here's to hoping that Microsoft offers it in more countries in the years to come.
Backward Compatibility on its next-generation consoles is yet again another feature that Microsoft is touting heavily. Both the Xbox Series X and Series S are compatible with over 1000 Xbox games spanning across four generations.
But it's not just the fact that these consoles will be able to run older games, it's also that some older games will run and look better on them. The Series X will offer HDR reconstruction for backward compatible games - automatically adding HDR to them -, with some titles getting boosted framerates up to 60 and 120fps as well. Meanwhile, the less powerful Series S will run backward compatible games in Xbox One S mode with improvements such as HDR reconstruction added on top.
With Sony not offering backward compatibility to PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 games on PlayStation 5, Microsoft is banking on the possibility that the nostalgia factor will pull in some gamers into its ecosystem in this generation.
Microsoft's Acquisition of ZeniMax Media
Last but definitely not the least is news that Microsoft is acquiring ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion, with the deal expected to be completed in 2021. With this acquisition, the company brings a number of high-profile studios under its umbrella such as Bethesda, Arkane, id Software, and more.
As can be seen in the graphic above, this ropes in numerous AAA franchises featuring highly-anticipated titles such as Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI into Microsoft's first-party offerings in the upcoming generation, also bringing these games to Game Pass on launch day. While the company has stated that it will be examining and determining multi-platform availability - that is, launch on PlayStation 5 - on a "case by case" basis, it's almost a given that these offerings will be exclusive to Microsoft platforms on consoles, which means that fans of these franchises need to consider Xbox Series X and S if they want to play these titles on consoles.
What are your top reasons to purchase or consider purchasing Xbox Series X and S consoles? Let us know in the comments section below!
By Garg Ankit
Amazon warns Xbox Series X preorders might get delayed
by Garg Ankit
After a long wait, pre-orders went live for the Xbox Series X a few days ago. As you can probably imagine, it was sold out pretty quickly. Microsoft then announced that it is not a cause of worry since retailers will have additional units available on launch day.
Now, according to CNET, Microsoft has sent out emails to customers who pre-ordered the Xbox Series X, warning them that the console may not arrive by launch day.
The email reads,
The Verge reports that Amazon has also sent out an email to people who ordered the gaming console on their platform, cautioning them that their preorders might get delayed. Several people took to Twitter to confirm the same.
Amazon had sent a similar email for Sony's upcoming console, the Playstation 5, as well. Xbox Series X and Series S are launching on November 10, while Playstation 5 is releasing two days later on November 12. Microsoft has prioritized India as it will get the consoles the same day as the rest of the world, while PS5 will arrive a week later.
Source: CNET, The Verge
Editor's note: This content of this article has been updated after publication to reflect that Amazon has sent out emails to customers to inform them that their Xbox Series X preorders might get delayed, not Microsoft. We apologize for the oversight.
By Jefferson Mangubat
Microsoft's new Xbox app is now available in beta for iOS devices
by Jefferson Mangubat
Microsoft has launched the new Xbox app (beta) on iOS a few days after rolling it out to Android devices. The app features console remote play and allows you to install any games remotely, among other capabilities.
Harrison Hoffman, Senior Program Manager for Xbox, announced the app's release today via a Twitter post. However, for those who would like to join the beta testing using Apple’s TestFlight app, the program has now been closed.
That said, you can still sign up for the beta testing in the future once Apple removes inactive testers. Just like its Android counterpart, the Xbox beta app for iOS features a capability that allows players to share game clips and screenshots directly from their iPhone, brings a unified notification center, and much more. Of course, it also has a refreshed design language.
The beta app supports iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 8 or later. However, you must have iOS 14 beta or later in order to use the app clips feature.