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Microsoft: Only Consoles Supporting Full RDNA 2 Capabilities Are Xbox Series X and Series S, Excludes PlayStation 5

Microsoft has today published another article on its Xbox Wire blog, dedicated to all the news regarding the Xbox consoles and its ecosystem. In the light of yesterday's launch of AMD Radeon RDNA 2 graphics cards, Microsoft has congratulated its partner and provider of processors SoCs for their next-generation consoles. Besides the celebrations and congratulations, Microsoft has proceeded to show off what the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles are capable of, and how they integrate the RDNA 2 architecture. The company notes that there are hardware accelerated DirectX Raytracing, Mesh Shaders, Sampler Feedback, and Variable Rate Shading units built-in, so game developers can take advantage of it.

Another interesting point Microsoft made was that "Xbox Series X|S are the only next-generation consoles with full hardware support for all the RDNA 2 capabilities AMD showcased today." What this translates into is that Microsoft is the only console maker that uses the full RDNA 2 potential. This could leave Sony out in the dark with its PlayStation 5 console, meaning that it does not support all the features of AMD's new GPU architecture. There are not any specific points, however, we have to wait and see what Sony has left out, if anything.

Bug in HDMI 2.1 Chipset May Cause Black Screen on Your Xbox Series X Console or NVIDIA GPU

A German website, Heise.de, has discovered a bug in HDMI 2.1 chipset that causes black screen issues on specific hardware. On AV chipsets sourced by Panasonic, and used by Denon, Marantz, and Yamaha HDMI 2.1 AV receivers, the chipset experiences a specific issue of a black screen. More specifically, the bug happens once you connect Microsoft's newest console, Xbox Series X, or NVIDIA's Ampere graphics cards. When connecting these sources at resolutions like 4K/120 Hz HDR and 8K/60 Hz HDR to Panasonic HDMI 2.1 chipsets, the black screen happens. This represents a major problem for every manufacturer planning to use the Panasonic HDMI 2.1 chipset in its AV receivers, meaning that the issue has to be addressed. The Audioholics website has reached out to Sound United and Yamaha to see what their responses were, and you can check them out below.

CORSAIR Launches HS75 XB WIRELESS Headset for Xbox

CORSAIR, a world leader in high-performance gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the launch of its first officially licensed headset for Microsoft Xbox, the HS75 XB WIRELESS Gaming Headset. Compatible with Xbox One and the upcoming next-generation Xbox Series X and Series S, the HS75 XB WIRELESS delivers the fantastic sound and comfort that the CORSAIR HS Series is known for, connecting directly to your Xbox console via Xbox Wireless without the need for a wireless receiver, or to a Windows 10 PC via the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows (sold separately). Complete with immersive Dolby Atmos for precise three-dimensional sound and a noise-cancelling uni-directional microphone, the HS75 XB WIRELESS is the perfect companion for your current or future Xbox console.

Great sound starts with great audio drivers, which is why the HS75XB WIRELESS utilizes custom-tuned 50 mm neodymium drivers with the range to hear everything you need on the battlefield. Coupled with Dolby Atmos spatial audio - a first for a CORSAIR headset - you'll feel closer to the action than ever before. To ensure clear communication with your teammates, the HS75 XB WIRELESS is equipped with a uni-directional microphone, along with on-ear game audio and chat mix controls so you can easily switch focus from hearing the action to hearing your squad, and vice versa.

Microsoft Confirms 120 FPS Update For Halo Master Chief Collection on Xbox Series X/S

Microsoft has confirmed that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be receiving a next-generation upgrade for the Xbox Series X/S. The upgrades include 120 FPS support in Campaign & Multiplayer game modes along with split-screen improvements. These updates are similar to the improvements found in the PC version of the game which has been progressively releasing. The Xbox Series X version will also be receiving 4K support when the upgrade launches on November 17th as a free update for owners of the game. The Halo: The Master Chief Collection will also be available through Xbox Game Pass and contains Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4.

Xbox Series X External Storage Requirements Confirmed: USB 3.0, 128 GB

Microsoft is introducing some new requirements for external storage devices on the Xbox Series X/S. The new consoles feature high-speed PCIe 4.0 SSD storage which should greatly reduce loading times, with 802 GB of usable space on the Xbox Series X for games and apps. This internal SSD will allow gamers to install a handful of AAA games, for those looking to expand the storage on the new console have two options the proprietary high-speed connector or a USB based storage device.

The high-speed connector will allow for plug and play storage upgrades with high speed NVMe SSDs from Seagate however, these expansion modules will come in at a high price. For those looking to save some money, Microsoft has recently confirmed the minimum requirements for using an external storage device for game and app installations, which are USB 3.0 only and a minimum of 128 GB. This will rule out older HDDs and lower capacity USB sticks but will helpfully allow for a higher quality experience.

Doom Eternal Arriving on Xbox Game Pass Next Month

Doom Eternal has been called one of the best first-person shooters ever. If you haven't already experienced its unique brand of fast-paced, push-forward, first-person combat, now's the time to blast your way into id Software's critically acclaimed game coming to Xbox Game Pass on October 1 and Xbox Game Pass for PC later in 2020.

In Doom Eternal, you step into the armor of the Slayer, an unstoppable and unyielding force with a singular mission - Raze Hell and save humanity. Battle demons in an epic single-player campaign that takes you to Earth, to Mars, through Hell, and across dimensions never seen before.

Xbox Game Pass Surpasses 15 Million Subscribers

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass continues to grow at a remarkable rate with the subscription service recently surpassing 15 million subscribers. Microsoft have been heavily investing in the service bringing more games onboard with EA Play inclusion and the recent acquisition of Bethesda. Select games from this growing catalog are now available on mobile devices through Microsoft Project xCloud in addition to the existing PC library. Microsoft's large investment in the service is beginning to pay off with subscriptions increasing by 5 million in just 6 months and the service will likely play as a major drawcard for next-generation systems.

Microsoft Announces Acquisition of Bethesda Parent Company ZeniMax Media

Microsoft today dropped a giant bomb on the balance of game development: the company announced the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, and all its related IP. The purchase, which is expected to close for a tidy $7.5 billion, will carry over all ZeniMax Media subsidiaries. This includes Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls, Fallout), id Software (DOOM), Arkane Studios (Prey, Dishonored, upcoming Deathloop), MachineGames (Wolfenstein), among others.

The deal is the costliest acquisition for Microsoft (to date) in its push to increase the number of in-house development studios (up to 23 from 15 prior to this deal). Microsoft has announced that as part of the deal, games published by ZeniMax Media and subsidiaries (and in the future, by Microsoft) will be available on its Xbox Games Pass subscription service for Xbox and PC gaming. Microsoft is acquiring some of the most iconic gaming franchises ever with this deal, including all in-development IP. It's a huge boon for the company; it remains to be seen exactly how will this evolve over the years. But one thing is for certain: Microsoft isn't slowing down on its doubling down on game development.

Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos Confirmed for Xbox Series X/S

Dolby have recently announced that the Xbox Series X and Series S will support Dolby Atmos games at launch and Dolby Vision games later in 2021. This will be the first time a generation of consoles have supported the standards in-game. Dolby Vision creates the best HDR experience with a compatible screen as it offers per scene metadata adjustments and 12-bit color depth. Dolby Vision is already available through Netflix on Xbox One but this will be the first time both technologies are offered for console games. Dolby Atmos support will be included at launch, however, a 15 USD license fee will be required if you don't own Atmos speakers.

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Expands To Include EA Play

Microsoft and EA have recently announced that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate & Xbox Game Pass for PC members will soon be receiving an EA Play membership at no additional cost starting this holiday. EA Play formally EA Access & Origin Access is the game subscription service from Electronic Arts which grants access to a library of over 60 EA games along with providing a variety of perks such as early access and discounts on new games. This means Ultimate members can enjoy EA Play on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and Windows 10 PCs, while Xbox Game Pass for PC members get EA Play on Windows 10. Microsoft seems to be going all-in with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with the launch of next-generation consoles with the recently announced console/subscription bundles and the android xCloud support.

Microsoft Unveils the Xbox Series S: The Smallest Xbox Ever

Microsoft today surprised us with the Xbox Series S announcement. The Xbox Series S offers "next gen performance" and is the "smallest Xbox ever." The company promised to share more details, but when it goes on sale, it will cost just USD $299 (ERP). The announcement teaser had a pretty clear image of the finished product, revealing it to be barely more than two controllers in volume. A large fan intake makes up one of its side panels. It retains the general design of the larger Xbox Series X. Microsoft stated it will share more details about the new console.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 Available Worldwide Now

Activision today announced the worldwide launch of its much-anticipated Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2, a remaster of the first two successful titles in the iconic, billion-dollar Tony Hawk video game franchise. In one game package, players will experience all the levels, tricks, and pro-skater characters from the original blockbuster hits from 1999 and 2000, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, fully remastered in 4K resolution and bolstered with new ways to play, new pro-skaters to choose from and new music. In addition, the game includes features that allow players to customize their own skate parks and outfits and share them with friends.

"I'm thankful for the quality and care that Activision and Vicarious Visions have put into the remaster to revive the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series in the best way possible," said Tony Hawk. "For years, fans have asked me about bringing these games back, and I'm proud to say that we finally have a game that delivers on the expectations that nostalgic fans want, while inspiring a new generation to pick up a controller, and perhaps even a real skateboard."

Xbox Series X Launches this November with Thousands of Games Spanning Four Generations

Today, we announced updates to Halo Infinite's launch timing. Our vision at Xbox and 343 Industries has always been to deliver the most ambitious Halo game ever for our fans, while also balancing the team's well-being. To do that, we will need some more time to finish the critical work necessary to launch Halo Infinite, which will come in 2021.

We have plenty to keep you busy until Chief arrives: there will be thousands of games to play, spanning four generations, when Xbox Series X launches globally this November and over 100 optimized for Xbox Series X titles, built to take full advantage of our most powerful console, are planned for this year. And with brand new console features like hardware-accelerated Direct X raytracing, framerates up to 120 frames per second, faster loading times, and Quick Resume for multiple games, playing will look and feel better, no matter which games you choose to play on day one.

Microsoft Project xCloud Beta now Live for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscribers

Microsoft Project xCloud is set to officially launch next month on the 15th of September however Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can access an early beta version starting today. The beta will only be available on Android devices via the Google Play Store or Samsung App Store due to Apple banning the program as we've previously reported.

Microsoft Project xCloud beta includes over 100 launch titles that can be played with an Xbox Wireless Controller or supported Bluetooth gamepad. A select number of games including Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and Gears 5 can be played via touch control and Microsoft expects more games to receive touch support over time. Microsoft Project xCloud beta is now live in 22 countries and will run for one month until xCloud is officially launched.

Xbox Series S Confirmed in Leaked Controller Packaging

We reported on rumors about the cheaper next-generation Xbox console back in June, and after this latest leak we can be sure it will be called the Xbox Series X. Twitter user Zak S has obtained images of the Xbox Series X controller and packaging, which confirm compatibility with the Xbox Series S. The packaging details that the controller will work with both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles along with Xbox One consoles, Windows 10, Android, and IOS.

This Xbox Series S is expected to be announced by Microsoft in the coming weeks, the console is designed to complement the Xbox Series X as a cheaper alternative for casual gamers and media consumption. The console is rumored to feature 7.5 GB useable memory compared to the 13.5 GB useable on the Xbox Series X along with graphics power of 4 TFLOPs or roughly 3x worse then the Xbox Series X at 12 TFLOPs.

Apple Says Cloud Gaming Services Like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud Violate App Store Guidelines

Cloud gaming is the next step in mobile gaming, with services like Microsoft project xCloud aiming to bring AAA titles right to your mobile phone. Microsoft has already been testing its xCloud application on Android and iOS devices for some time, and the application was supposed to launch sometime in September. However, it seems like Microsoft is only going to serve the customers on Android, as Apple says that these types of applications violate App Store guidelines. This doesn't only apply to xCloud, but also Google's Stadia gaming platform. When developer uploads application to App Store for iOS, the application goes through a review by Apple, for security reason and for Apple to check if it meets its guidelines.

Being that xCloud and Stadia are types of applications which offer a way to access many more applications (games in this case), this is against Apple's policy as they can't control the applications these services offer.

Microsoft Announces Overhauled Microsoft Store on Xbox

Microsoft has recently announced a completely rebuilt store for Xbox One. The new Microsoft Store on Xbox has been designed to be run twice as fast as before with launch times of under two seconds. The store has gained a new navigation system which makes it easier to find specific content along with a revamped search feature that offers more filter options. The wish list and checkout features have been updated to increase transparency and help keep track of game pricing. The new store also incorporates advanced safety features which ensure potentially inappropriate content is hidden for child and content restricted accounts. The new Microsoft Store on Xbox will be progressively rolling out to Xbox Insiders starting August 5 before a complete rollout this fall.

Blizzard Confirms World of Warcraft Won't be Releasing for Consoles

Data miners have reportedly found a new piece of information about the very popular game World of Warcraft. Inside the game code for the new Shadowlands expansion pack, few data miners spotted support for gaming controllers, which lead to rumors that WoW is coming to next-generation consoles. With PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X coming soon, it is now a hot topic to see which games are coming to the new platform. However, Blizzard has issued an official response to those rumors saying the following:
We currently have no plans to bring World of Warcraft or Shadowlands to Xbox Series X. The platform was listed on the Brazil Ministry of Justice rating website in error, and the entry has since been updated to reflect that the game is coming only to PC
World of Warcraft Shadowlands

Xbox Games Showcase Post-Mortem: Halo Infinite, Fable, Forza, and Many Others Revealed

Today, Microsoft held a long-awaited reveal for many upcoming games that the company hopes will justify bringing players into their ecosystem. Whether via their existing Xbox devices or through the next-generation Xbox Series X and gaming PC, the company put on a show showcasing the future of games as they envision them - but many more games from even Microsoft's first-party studios weren't showcased - yet.

The star of the show and opening opus was Halo Infinite, the much-awaited next installment in the Halo saga. The showcase revealed a part of the campaign, with cinematics and gameplay, and it does seem to be another step in the right direction for the franchise. The 8-minute gameplay video showcased the gorgeous environments, particle and sound effects made possible by the new Splipspace Engine in the new Halo game, with a number of impressive new weapons and game mechanics (that grappling hook does seem sweet, doesn't it?). A look at the map reveals an open-world-esque approach to game design, with 343 industries promising the game to be many times bigger than their two previous games, Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, combined. A smooth 60-frames per second and 4K resolution is promised in what will definitely be the Xbox Series X's crown launch jewel. No multiplayer was shown - yet. We expect 343 Industries to start launching Sprint videos on the development of the game in the coming months, and also new game trailers showcasing the mechanics of the game.

Microsoft Details Technologies at the Soul of Xbox Series X: The Velocity Architecture

When we set out to design the Xbox Series X, we aspired to build our most powerful console ever powered by next generation innovation and delivering consistent, sustained performance never before seen in a console with no compromises. To achieve this goal, we knew we needed to analyze each component of the system, to push beyond the limitations in traditional console performance and design. It was critical in the design of the Xbox Series X to ensure we had a superior balance of power, speed and performance while ensuring no component would constrain the creative ambition of the world's best creators, empowering them to deliver truly transformative next gen gaming experiences not possible in prior console generations.

Microsoft Announces Xbox Series X Games Showcase Event

After Sony has showcased Unreal Engine 5 capabilities on the new PlayStation 5 console, there was a counterpart event missing from Microsoft. However, Microsoft has announced today that the company will host a live stream event on July 23rd. That is the date when Microsoft will host the event on YouTube and Twitch. Starting at 9 am PT time, the company will showcase the capabilities of the new Xbox Series X console. Possibly, Microsoft will show ray tracing and all the latest technology advancements with AMD's RDNA2 graphics card found inside the new console. What we can expect in terms of games is Halo Infinite and maybe new Forza and Gears of War games. Either way, we have to wait and find out on July 23rd.

ASUS ROG Announces Strix Electro Punk Edition Gaming Peripherals

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the release of new Electro Punk peripherals with a striking black-and-pink color scheme. First introduced in April, the Electro Punk colors can now be found on the ROG Strix Go 2.4 gaming headset, ROG Strix Scope TKL gaming keyboard, ROG Strix Impact II gaming mouse and other gaming and lifestyle accessories.

ROG Strix Go 2.4 Electro Punk is a USB-C 2.4 GHz wireless headset that enables stable, lag-free audio on smart devices, PC, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox or Nintendo Switch (in Handheld mode). The Electro Punk edition features pink piping in and around the headband, ear pads, and ROG logo to give it that a special touch, while the rest stays bold black to prevent stains. Strix Go 2.4 has a detachable boom mic powered by AI Noise-Canceling technology that intelligently eliminates unwanted background noise for clear voice communication for work or play.

Microsoft Rumored To Release Budget Xbox Series S Console

In a recent report by the Verge, Microsoft is reportedly planning a budget console to go along with the Xbox Series X known as the Xbox Series S. The Xbox Series S will be a successor to the popular Xbox One S, codenamed Lockhart it's set to feature the key next-generation improvements found in the Xbox Series X and provide them at a lower price point.

Sources say that the Xbox Series S will target 1080p 60FPS and 1440p 6̶0̶F̶P̶S̶ 30FPS gaming performance, this will be achieved with roughly 1/3rd of the GPU power at 4 TeraFLOPs, and 10 GB of GDDR6 RAM. The Xbox Series S console is rumored to share the same 7 nm AMD Zen 2 SoC a̶t̶ ̶a̶ ̶l̶o̶w̶e̶r̶ ̶c̶l̶o̶c̶k̶ and the same ultra-fast PCIe 4.0 SSD. The console may not feature a disc drive like the Xbox One S All Digital Edition. Microsoft is yet to publicly say anything about the console, so take these rumors with a grain of salt.

Update Jun 30th: Sources tell Eurogamer that Microsoft is planning to unveil the console at an event in August.

Activision Announces Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

Bandicoots get ready fur it, Crash is moving 4-ward into 2020 with a brand-new game that's built from the ground up and "It's About Time." No, literally! Activision Blizzard, Inc., and developer Toys for Bob, are giving fans the true sequel to the original trilogy with Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. Our lovingly absurd marsupials are back and putting a fresh spin, jump and wump on conflicts of cosmic proportions, discovering expansive new worlds, unexpected allies, larger-than-life boss battles and powerful new Quantum Masks that must be united to restore order to the multiverse. Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time will be available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One and Xbox One X on October 2, 2020. Pre-orders are available now.
Bandicoot 4: Its About Time Bandicoot 4: Its About Time Bandicoot 4: Its About Time

Microsoft Project xCloud Servers to be Powered by Xbox Series X SoC

Microsoft is preparing to launch a competitive product to Google's Stadia and Amazon's Project Tempo, which are both game streaming services. To Microsoft's advantage, the company has experience in building gaming systems and using cloud technology to integrate them. While both Google and Amazon are cloud providers and have the infrastructure to implement game streaming services, Microsoft has its Xbox division, which has been in the gaming industry for a long time. Despite already owning the infrastructure, Microsoft wants to use the hardware from its Xbox consoles as a base of the upcoming game streaming service called Project xCloud.

According to sources of Tom Warren, senior editor at Verge, Microsoft will be re-using the Xbox SoCs found in their consoles. According to the source, in the beginning, Microsoft is going to use Xbox One S blades to power its game streaming service. After that, the company will upgrade its servers with more powerful Xbox Series X SoC. As a reminder, the Xbox Series X SoC has 8 Ryzen CPU cores based on "Zen 2" µarch, RDNA 2 GPU capable of delivering 12 TFLOPs, 16 GB of GDDR6 memory and a mighty fast SSD. This will be enough to satisfy game streaming service demands and power all of the AAA titles users will be playing once it is available.
Xbox Series X SoC
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