Cyber Monday deal on new Xbox controllers

The latest version of the Xbox wireless controller is currently on sale through the Microsoft Store. This limited-time discount started last week, but will most likely end after today. The promotion is offering the refreshed Xbox gamepads for up to $25 off (USD $39.99).

The new version of the Xbox wireless controller works with both the current and previous generation of Xbox consoles along with Bluetooth-enabled devices such as PC and mobile. The biggest change to this version of the controller is a dedicated “Share” button that allows instant screen captures in both picture and video format. Additional improvements for this version include enhanced ergonomics, most notably in the texture of the triggers and grips.

The new Xbox controllers come in three color variations that includes Carbon Black, Robot White, and a Shock Blue version that appears to be inspired by Sega’s mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog — although this hasn’t been officially acknowledged. It’s unlikely Microsoft will offer a similar discount on the new Xbox controllers again anytime soon, so if you’re in the market for one, be sure to take advantage of this rare opportunity.

Microsoft announces all Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games (sans Kinect) playable on Xbox Series X|S at launch

After more than 500,000 hours of testing, Microsoft has now confirmed that every Xbox game (sans Kinect) across all three generations, from the original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, will be playable at launch on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The announcement was made on Twitter by Jason Ronald, Partner Director of Program Management at Team Xbox and Xbox Series X Development Chief, who emphasized that all of the games will look and play better with the next-gen hardware.

This announcement is great news for backwards compatibility fans. As Ronald mentioned, all of these backwards compatible games will run better due to the powerful CPUs and GPUs, and also look better on compatible TVs and monitors due to the Auto HDR feature of the next-gen Xbox consoles.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will release on Tuesday, November 10th — just under 2 weeks away. The Xbox Series X retails at $499 USD, while Xbox Series S comes in at $299 USD, however, both are currently sold out ahead of launch.

Apex Legends Nintendo Switch release delayed until 2021

Yesterday on the Apex Legends blog, Chad Grenier, Game Director on Apex Legends, announced that the Nintendo Switch launch date for Apex Legends has been delayed until next year. The Respawn developed title was originally planned to release on Nintendo Switch in Fall 2020 along with a Steam version of the game. The delay comes as a result of ongoing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that as a result of which the team decided not to rush the game out this year.

Interestingly, Grenade stated that despite the delay of the Nintendo Switch version, the Steam version of Apex Legends is still on track to launch next month on November 4th. Respawn has previously confirmed that when Apex Legends does launch for Nintendo Switch, it will support cross-platform play, the latest seasonal content, and full feature parity with the other version of the game.

Respawn also announced that the Steam launch of Apex Legends will feature exclusive items. The exclusive launch items for the Steam version include Wattson, Octane, and Portal Gun Charms for everyone on the platform. In addition, it was announced that account progression and unlocks will carry over for anyone previously playing on Origin who now wishes to play the game on Steam.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection getting free next-gen upgrade to 4K 120 FPS

The backwards compatibility work at Xbox keeps getting better. Microsoft has just announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be getting a free next-gen update to take advantage of the capabilities of the Xbox Series S and X. The upgrade will roll out November 17th, just one week after the launch of the Series S and X.

Among the highlights of the update, Microsoft confirmed that the title will be optimized to play at 120 FPS on both Xbox Series X and S for both multiplayer and the single-play campaigns. The Series X version will also be optimized to render at 4K while still achieving the 120 FPS benchmark. Other highlights include improved split-screen functionality, FOV sliders, and cross-gen play.

This announcement stands as a testament to Microsoft’s dedication to the backwards compatibility program. After an embarrassing launch back in 2014, the company has been steadily working to improve to title which has since seen vast improvements across the board including reduced bugs and online lag while continuous work has also been done to improve the multiplayer portions of each game.

The next-gen upgrade for Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be free to anyone who has already purchased the game or for anyone who downloads it through a paid Game Pass subscription.

Zombies confirmed for Warzone in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Halloween event

Activision has officially confirmed weeks of rumors and speculation today that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Warzone will be adding zombies. The upcoming limited-time Halloween event, known as Zombie Royale, will be a part of the upcoming Haunting of Verdansk update that will release Tuesday, October 20th, just in time for spooky season.

The limited-time event will feature a night-time version of Verdansk where players will get to take on hordes of the undead along with a few other interesting changes. The most prominent change will be that instead of players being sent to the Gulag when they die, they will now respawn as zombies with supernatural abilities such as faster movement, higher jumping, more powerful melees, and thermal vision.

Other notable Halloween-themed changes will be happening with the standard Modern Warfare multiplayer. Among these, Gunfight will become Gunfright, and there will also be a Halloween Moshpit playlist. It appears that Activision and Infinity Ward are ramping up interest with less than a month to go until the release of Black Ops Cold War.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is set to release for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 13th.

Microsoft extends warranty on Xbox Elite 2 controller

Xbox fans are rejoicing after Microsoft announced they are extending the warranty on the Xbox Elite 2 controller from 90 days to a year. This announcement comes after a long history of complaints with the controller.

A recent Microsoft support article states, “We’ve received claims that a small percentage of our customers are experiencing mechanical issues when using their Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. To ensure your satisfaction, we’re extending the warranty coverage period on Elite Series 2 controllers from 90 days to 1 year from the date of purchase.”

The warranty extension will also apply retroactively. Anyone who incurred repair costs to service their Elite Series 2 controller will be issued a refund by Microsoft before October 31st, 2020. The extended warranty is a massive change from the meager 90 days, but it comes after a long history of complaints that has plagued the Elite controller series since its debut in 2015.

The announcement of the extended warranty is rather interesting after the recent revelation that Microsoft is facing a class-action lawsuit for the much too common “drifting joysticks” complaint that appears to affect all Xbox controllers. Although first filed in April, the lawsuit was recently updated to include both the Xbox Elite Controller and Xbox Elite Controller Series 2. The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation along with public injunction.

Xbox game streaming coming to iOS in 2021

After coming to a widely publicized standstill with Apple in regards to bringing their much anticipated cloud gaming service to their platform, it appears that Microsoft is now working on a direct browser-based solution. The evolutionary service, previously known as Project xCloud, is now expected to arrive on iOS and iPadOS devices in 2021.

As reported by Business Insider and The Verge, Xbox head Phil Spencer stated, “We absolutely will end up on iOS. We’ll end up on iPhones, and iPads with Game Pass.” He further commented that he “feels good” about the company’s iOS progress.

While Microsoft was recently able to launch their Xbox cloud gaming service on Android devices for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, their ambitions for Apple devices was hit with an unfortunate roadblock courtesy of Apple’s App Store policies and guidelines. The main issue was that the tech giant required developers to individually submit their games as separate apps in order to be on a streaming app. This restriction was quite unexpected and rather contradictory in comparison to how other streaming services on the platform function (e.g., Netflix).

While Spencer has yet to address the issue publicly, he did say that there is a long list of “cool things the xCloud team is working on” that includes having xCloud on Xbox consoles and PC, however, these plans are “just a bit further down” the road right now. The Xbox game streaming service is currently expected to arrive on iOS and iPadOS devices in 2021.

Apex Legends cross-play beta arrives October 6th

Cross-play is finally set to arrive in Apex Legends. The feature that Respawn Entertainment originally promised back in June will arrive tomorrow in an initial beta test available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Origin for PC. The cross-play beta will arrive with update for the start of the Aftermarket Collection Event and an all-new limited-time event called Flashpoint.

Starting tomorrow, beta participants will be able to party up with friends that play on other platforms. The new in-game system will essentially function as a friends list that allows them to send invites to players on other platforms – a similar system to those used other popular titles with cross-play including Fortnite and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Warzone. The new friends list will also indicate each players platform.

While in beta, in-game chat will work for cross-platform parties, however, cross-platform progression will not be supported. Support for this feature may arrive later down the road though, as Respawn stated they will discuss the issue in more detail later this year when the game launches for other systems. There is currently no support for Apex Legends on Switch or Steam, however these versions of the game are expected to be available soon and it is logical to assume they will be integrated into the cross-play system when they do arrive.

Respectfully, Respawn has stated they will not force console players to match with PC players. All console players, however, will now automatically play together, while PC players will only play with other PC players. This decision is in stark contrast to how Activision handles cross-play for Warzone, where Xbox One players are forced to play with PC players – a decision that has created a lot of public outcry from the Xbox One community.

Respawn stated, “We want to ensure that keyboard and mouse PC players are not being matched against console players, for reasons that should be obvious. If, however, an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 player and PC player party up together, they will be put into PC matches.”

Xbox head Phil Spencer says more Xbox consoles are in the works

In a recent interview with Yahoo! Finance, Xbox head Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft is planning to release more gaming consoles following the upcoming launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. This news may be surprising for some as the gaming industry appears to be on the brink of transitioning to an all-digital, cloud-based future.

Indeed, Spencer confirmed that Microsoft is still planning to develop dedicated gaming hardware, at least in the short term, even though the way the world plays games is rapidly changing with cloud-bases services like Xbox Cloud Gaming, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna.

“In terms of future hardware, absolutely I think we’re going to see more console hardware down the road,” Spencer stated, “Just like in video, just like in music, it’s not that streaming has cut off device innovation. I think we’ll continue to see that, and that’s absolutely what we’re planning for.”

It may be that Microsoft has wisely become more timid in pushing the transition to an all-digital future, after some of their previous previous plans in this regard were not well received. During the launch period of the Xbox One in 2013, Microsoft received heavy backlash over their push for an always online requirement for the Xbox platform. As such, it seems they make have learned their lesson this time around.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles will cost $499 and $299 USD, respectively, and are both set to release on November 10th, 2020.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War PS4 Alpha Sets Record

It’s official – the Black Ops Cold War Alpha on PS4 set a new record for the CoD series. According to a recent announcement via the official Call of Duty Twitter account, the Black Ops Cold War Alpha was the most downloaded PS4 alpha or beta in Call of Duty history.

This is a surprising accomplishment considering the alpha was announced on only a few days notice. Regardless, the Black Ops Cold War alpha performing so well on the PlayStation platform is a good sign for both the beta and the full launch of the game that will include Xbox and PC. The game now seems poised for a solid sales performance, and its cross-generational ability will only add to it’s success.

Those who missed out on the alpha will have another chance to play before release when the upcoming beta kicks off on October 8th. As for the official release date, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is set to drop on November 13th for PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, and Xbox Series X.