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.

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.

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.

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.

Microsoft confirms $299 Xbox Series S

Microsoft has officially confirmed the existence Of the Xbox Series S. The announcement comes via Twitter and also states that entry-level next-gen console will cost only $299.

Interestingly, Microsoft rushed this announcement out in the middle of the night after a leak that was then followed up by a report from Windows Central followed that detailed the design and price for the Xbox Series S.

No other information about the Xbox Series S has been announced yet, however, pictures confirm it will not have a disc drive.