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Xbox Series X Slim? Microsoft Reportedly Working on Smaller Console CPU

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We are living in arguably the strangest console generation. It is hard to believe the Xbox Series X – and indeed Sony’s PS5 – are nearly 18 months old. Such is the ongoing market demand (partly driven by a chip shortage), both feel like new products that are still selling like hotcakes. Despite that fresh launch feel, the Series X is a year-and-a-half old and maybe looking at its first refresh.

You know how it goes. The first production year or two of a new console is the bleeding edge tech. Most new consoles are bricks. That is certainly true of both the Xbox Series X and PS5… two massive pieces of hardware. However, manufacturers spend the first few years of a generation refining their design and production.

The result is a mid-generation tweak that slims down the console. To do that, components need to become more efficient and smaller. And that leads to a new report suggesting Microsoft is developing a smaller CPU for the Series X.

Xbox Series X Slim?

Known Microsoft watcher and Vice President of Stardock Software, Brad Sams says the company is building a more efficient and smaller chipset. Speaking on YouTube, Sams offers the following information:

“I believe this is true … I know that Microsoft was working on revisions of the chip. Now, are we going to see performance improvements, are we going to see anything else? I do not believe so but Microsoft is always working on making cooler, more efficient chips because that lowers the cost of production. I believe it is accurate the Microsoft is working on a smaller, more power efficient chip. That is, I’m very confident in that.”

As mentioned, when components get smaller and more efficient, the console design usually follows. While other specs will need to become smaller too, the CPU could be the first step towards the Xbox Series X Slim, or whatever name Microsoft gives it.

I expect this to rumble on for a while and no Slim version to launch in 2022. Although, but mid-2023 when the Series X is 2.5 years old, I suspect we’ll here about a revision to the console.

Tip of the day: File History is a Windows back up feature that saves each version of files in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Desktop, and Offline OneDrive folders. Though its name implies a primary focus on version control, you can actually use it as a fully-fledged backup tool for your important documents.

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Xbox Spring Sale 2022 Offers Discounts on Hundreds of Games

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It’s that time of the year when the cold weather starts easing and the spring arrives. Just in time for the Xbox Spring Sale, which this year is cutting prices on hundreds of popular games. This is one of the best times of the year to buy a game as you can pick up some genuine bargains.

Discounts are already available and the Xbox Spring Sale will run until April 11. There really are hundreds of games with discount prices. We won’t list them all on this page, but you should head to Microsoft’s official announcement to see the complete list.

Needless to say, in such a vast portfolio of games, you will find something you love at a reduced price. Big hitters are included, such as franchises like Assasins Creed, Batman, Call of Duty, Fallout, Borderlands, and many more.

Importantly, discounts are available across Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Many of the titles from the older consoles are backward compatible, so they will also work on the Xbox Series devices.

No Xbox Console Discounts

Unfortunately, the Xbox Spring Sale does not extend to price reductions on the Xbox Series X. The console remains largely unavailable because of huge demand. Last month, Microsoft started selling refurbished consoles to give customers the chance to buy the Series X.

According to the Store listing, a refurbished model costs $469.99. There is currently a list of around 12 games that you can buy with the refurbished console. Monopoly Plus and Monopoly Madness is the cheapest of those at $27.49. Furthermore, you’ll need to buy a controller, with the white Xbox Wireless Controller the cheapest at $54.99.

Tip of the day:

Did you know you can use Windows built in antivirus Microsoft Defender also with scheduled scans? In our tutorial we give you step-by-step instructions on how to program your personal scan-schedule to keep your free of malware.

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Microsoft Previews Minecraft Ray Tracing on Xbox Series X

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Microsoft will bring its ray tracing technology to Minecraft on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles. Currently in testing for Minecraft Preview on the Xbox Insider Program. This preview is limited but shows that Microsoft is bringing the technology to its consoles.

This is a connection of two existing capabilities. Specifically, the Xbox Series X already has support for ray tracing, which Minecraft on Windows also supports the feature. Now, the two will combine with Minecraft on Xbox consoles getting ray tracing capabilities.

Ray tracing is a technology that allows hardware acceleration on the new consoles. With ray tracing, the Series X has better dynamic shadows, physics-based lighting effects, and dynamic shadows. Nvidia’s RTX graphics card with path-traced ray tracing is now part of Minecraft on Windows.It is surprising how well it works in Minecraft considering Microsoft’s title has never been about realism. However, there’s no doubt the reflections on water, the dynamic shadows, and different intensities of light make a big difference.

Getting Starte

Xbox Series X|S users will now also see those benefits. In the current preview, you need resource packs in Minecraft to enable ray tracing. This involves downloading and installing the packs, which is not easy on Xbox. Instead, users can how a Minecraft session on Windows and allow an Xbox player to join the session.

Yes, that is probably too complicated for the average Minecraft user, so I hope Microsoft makes enabling ray tracing more efficient when the feature matures to full release.

Tip of the day: Fast startup (a.k.a hiberboot, hybrid boot, hybrid shutdown) is a power setting that adjusts Windows’ behavior when it starts up and shuts down. Though it is unlikely fast startup will seriously harm your computer, there are a few reasons you might want to disable it by following our tutorial.

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Microsoft Rolls out Xbox Cloud Gaming Improvements on iOS

download – 2022-03-18T111917.408

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Microsoft has been steadily improving its Xbox Cloud Gaming service for players, including keyboard and mouse support earlier this month. In the latest tweak, the company is making improvements to the cloud-based game streaming service on iOS.

In an official Xbox blog post, Microsoft describes how it has taken feedback from users of Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS. Using that information, the company is making enhancements for the service on iPhone and iPad devices.

Microsoft does not say what the specifics of the enhancements are, but it seems just general all-round improvements. According to the company, the result is players are giving higher engagement with playtimes up 35% compared to before.

If you’re thinking this is very vague, I agree. However, this is the information Microsoft is giving and it amounts to: Improvements for Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS, those improvements are good and are working.

Any Difference?

To see the mysterious enhancements in action, grab your iPhone or iPad and head to Xbox.com/play through the Safari browser. Sing into your Microsoft Account. The company says to see the improvements, pin the Xbox.com/play site to your home screen.

Ok, is this just a trick for Microsoft to get users to put the service on their homepage? Let us know below if you see any difference in your Xbox Cloud Gaming experience on iOS following these apparent enhancements.

Earlier this month, Microsoft brought mouse and keyboard support to its cloud gaming service. That adds a bit of PC gaming sophistication to the platform, even though support is not available for all games.

Tip of the day: Windows sometimes refuses to delete certain folders or files. In our tutorial we show you how to take action in such a case and still erase the affected files from your hard drive.

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Microsoft: All Xbox Products to be Carbon Negative by 2030

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Microsoft-Xbox-Sustainability

Sustainability and the impact tech companies make on the environment is an important debate. Many major technology brands are committing to dramatically improving their carbon footprint. For Microsoft, its commitment includes promising to become carbon negative by 2030. Now the company is adding an extension to that pledge by saying all Xbox products will be 100% recyclable by the same year.

Xbox was already scheduled to be water positive, zero-waste, and carbon negative by 2030 as part of Microsoft’s wider sustainability plans. According to the company in an update, Xbox products will also be zero-waste, water positive, and carbon negative.

Achieving that goal for hardware is more difficult because Microsoft outsources manufacturing. In other words, it is more complicated to control the sustainability efficiency of a partner. To overcome that challenge, Microsoft is targeting specific methods to reach its goals.

According to Microsoft’s blog post, all Xbox hardware will be 100% recyclable in all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Devices falling under this commitment are Xbox consoles, all packaging, and accessories. Gift cards will stop being plastic and will be made of paperboard.

Moving Forward

It is worth noting Microsoft says the current Xbox Serie X and S are 97% recyclable, so the company is most of the way towards its commitment.

“Our ambitions are high, and we recognize we still have a long way to go, but we’re committed because it is critically important that we get this right for the planet,” the Xbox team says. “But the work is never complete. We’re committed to continuing to learn, improve, and grow. You are an important part of this journey. We’ll continue to share updates on how we’re progressing.”

The commitment includes Xbox Cloud Gaming, which runs on Azure. Microsoft has already pledged to move Azure cloud to 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Tip of the day: Is your system drive constantly full and you need to free up space regularly? Windows 10 Disk Cleanup in extended mode which goes far beyond the standard procedure. Our tutorial also shows you how to create a desktop shortcut to run this advanced method right from the desktop.

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Xbox Cloud Gaming to Get Mouse and Keyboard Support

download – 2022-03-07T163122.895

Xbox Cloud Gaming is Microsoft’s cloud streaming platform for games. It allows users to play Xbox games on PC, older Xbox consoles, and phone (with other device support in the pipeline). One of the requirements of the platform is the use of a compatible controller. However, Microsoft is now expanding compatibility to allow mouse and keyboard support on Xbox Cloud Gaming.

The main reason why a physical input device is necessary for the platform is because some games do not work with touch controls. Microsoft now wants Xbox Cloud Gaming to appeal to PC gamers who a probably more accustomed to using a keyboard and mouse.

It is worth noting that the support for keyboard and mouse is not available on all games. The announcement for the feature was announced by Jorg Neumann, who leads the Microsoft Flight Simulator team.

Details

Of course, Flight Simulator will receive mouse and keyboard support, but more games will also be included. Neumann was talking in a YouTube Q&A, so did not reveal any specifics of the features. That means we have still not had official confirmation from Microsoft or a date when support goes live.

Of course, to see the difference in Xbox Cloud Gaming, you need to be a subscriber to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. If you are unfamiliar with Cloud Gaming, it allows users to access Xbox Game Pass games on any device, with Microsoft’s Azure handling all the resources.

One of the benefits of the platform is it allows users to play Xbox games without having the latest Xbox Series X or S. Furthermore, Cloud Gaming also allows mobile gameplay of Xbox titles.

Tip of the day: Headsets are a vital tool for communication and can cause stressful moments when they don´t work as planned. In our tutorial we are showing you how to properly set up a headset on your Windows PC so this will be a thing of the past.

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Microsoft Brings Twitch Streaming Back to the Xbox Guide

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We have seen in recent months how Microsoft is trying to integrate Twitch more into the Xbox console experience. In its latest move, the company is bringing back a tool previously enjoyed by users before it was removed. Specifically, users can now live stream and use Twitch from the Xbox guide.

“We’ve heard your feedback and are excited to bring back this fan favorite feature, re-engineered, and better than ever,” Microsoft says.

This has been available since February 23 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One. To access Twitch on the Xbox guide, head to the “Capture and Share” tab and select “Live streaming” from the list of options.

There is a QR code that works with iOS and Android to link your Twitch account to the Xbox. On a PC, simply head to the given URL to link your account and sign in. Once your account is linked, select Twitch and the “Go live now” option.

As well as bringing back this feature, Microsoft is also adding several ways to manage streams. For example, bitrate, resolution, mic, game, and audio configurations. When watching a stream, vieers can watch on any device, while other users on Xbox can receive notifications about your streams.

Dashboard Integration

Back in October, Microsoft brought Twitch streaming back to the Xbox Dashboard after an absence of a few years.

You may remember Twitch was first made available on the dashboard for the Xbox One in 2014. It then disappeared from the dashboard, although the Twitch app remained. Now, the service is once again becoming available for streaming directly on the dashboard.

Tip of the day: The Windows Sandbox gives Windows 10/11 Pro and Enterprise users a safe space to run suspicious apps without risk. In out tutorial we show you how to enable the Windows Sandbox feature.

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Report: Microsoft Has Sold 12 Million Xbox Series X Consoles, Discontinues Xbox One

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If you are looking to pick up a cheap new Xbox One console, your time is running out. Microsoft has confirmed it is no longer manufacturing the console, putting it firmly in the legacy category. At the same time, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles are flying from stores with sales upwards of 12 million to date.

Starting with the decision to discontinue the Xbox One. Well, this is actually not a new decision and Microsoft stopped manufacturing the console in 2020. That started with the Xbox One X and digital Xbox One S variant before the Xbox Series X launch. Since December 2020, the company has not been building any Xbox One S consoles.

Essentially, that means new Xbox One consoles you see at retailers are now remaining stock that will not be replaced.

“To focus on production of Xbox Series X / S, we stopped production for all Xbox One consoles by the end of 2020,” Cindy Walker, senior director of Xbox console product marketing, told The Verge.

While that means we are on the final lap of new Xbox One consoles, the second-market it about to get interesting. I expect eventually the console will reach bargain prices once demand dies down. I also think for the casual gamer the Xbox One X is not really that much of a leap. In other words, a Xbox One remains an excellent choice for gaming.

As for Sony, the company continues to sell loads of PS4 consoles. In fact, the console kept pace with the new PlayStation 5 during 2021. Sony had planned to halt production on the older console at the end of last year but says it will not manufacture one million PS4 units in 2022.

Xbox Series Sales

While we wave goodbye to the Xbox One, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S era is in full swing. Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad recently suggested Xbox Series X|S sales are besting both the sales of Xbox One and Xbox 360 following the first year of release. Considering the Xbox 360 was the better seller of those two with 12 million units, we can assume the Xbox Series consoles have sold more than that.

That’s good news for Microsoft as the generation seems to be performing against Sony better than the Xbox One. Even so, PS5 sales were put at 13.4 million units back in October, so following the holiday season it is likely the console remains a few million units ahead of the Xbox Series X and S.

As for why both the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles remain hard to get (in the case of the PS5 selling for far above the MSRP), Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer tells the New York Times this is because of demand and not supply:

“When you think about trying to go get an Xbox or a new PlayStation right now in the market, they’re really hard to find. And it’s not because supply is smaller than it’s ever been. Supply is actually as big as it’s ever been. It’s that demand is exceeding the supply for all of us,” Spencer said.

Tip of the day: By default computer names in Windows tend to be quite plain. By default, they tend to be ‘WIN’ or ‘Desktop’, followed by a string of random letters and numbers. We show you how to change your PC name with Settings, Command Prompt or PowerShell to make it more easily identifiable.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Becomes PC Game Pass

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In one of the most bizarre rebranding decisions in recent memory, Microsoft says its increasingly popular Xbox Game Pass product will now be known as “PC Game Pass”. In one move, the company is diluting the Xbox brand and dissociating the product from the Microsoft brand.

Why do I think the PC Game Pass name is a problem? Let’s take a look:

Firstly, the future of gaming is in streaming and online. Microsoft seems to not want the Xbox brand to be at the forefront of the push. Is the company moving Xbox to the side to be the console division and nothing else? Maybe, but on the flip side the Xbox Network (formerly Xbox Live) and Xbox Game Streaming (xCloud) still carry the branding.

It is also worth noting Microsoft says the service is “still Xbox”.

Secondly, and more problematic is how generic the new “PC Game Pass” name is. Nothing about this new branding tells users that this is an Xbox and/or Microsoft product. It is unclear how Microsoft would want to create ambiguity around the service.

Patch notes list about what has changed with the new PC Game Pass logo and name.

Moving On

Yes, the company wants what it envisions as the Netflix of gaming. A one-stop-shop solution for gaming on the cloud, streaming, and access. In that regard, a rebrand to a new product makes sense as the company shifts towards expanding the capabilities of Xbox Game Pass. Still, PC Game Pass is so, “meh”.

Xbox Games Pass/PC Game Pass will continue to deliver the same functionality. So, that means access to Xbox games on PC on a subscription basis without needing to pay for individual titles. Also, higher payment plans will continue to have access to Xbox Cloud Gaming built-in.

Tip of the day: Tired of Windows´s default notification and other system sounds? In our tutorial we show you how to change windows sounds or turn off system sounds entirely.

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Microsoft Offered Apple Xbox Cloud Gaming Exclusives to Bring Platform to iOS

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A new report suggests Microsoft was willing to work with Apple to overcome iOS requirements and allow Xbox Cloud Gaming games to run on iPad and iPhone. However, Apple ultimately stuck to its process and Microsoft went back to the drawing board. The report comes from The Verge, which uncovered internal emails between Microsoft and Apple.

Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming – known as Project xCloud in preview – allows users to stream Xbox games to devices without needing hardware requirements. For example, the ability to play Xbox games on a smartphone. While the service is available on Android through Xbox Game Pass, it remains unavailable on Apple’s iOS.

Strap in because this is a long – but interesting – story. It starts with the Project xCloud preview, which Microsoft was testing on iOS. The company suddenly removed the preview from the platform weeks before the service was to launch fully as Xbox Cloud Gaming.

The reason behind the removal was, according to Microsoft, Apple’s strict and unfair requirements for app developers on iOS. Those terms state all developers must give Apple 30% of all revenue they make. More importantly, developers are not allowed to offer ways for users to access the freemium service in another way.

For example, via their Xbox Game Pass account on a browser. This problem became clearer during a legal battle between Apple and Epic Games after Apple banned the popular game Fortnite from the App Store. Epic allows players to also access Fortnite via their site, which was a breach of Apple’s T&Cs.

While Microsoft took the side of Epic Games, it was thought the company could not comply with Apple’s requirements so simply pulled Project xCloud. The company was then looking for other ways to deliver the service to customers on iOS, including the browser option.

Compromise

However, private emails found by The Verge involving Microsoft corporate VP of business development Lori Wright and Apple executives reveals the companies were trying to find a solution.

The possibility came from Apple’s tweaks to its requirements through the launch of iOS 14 last year. Specifically, the company allowing game streaming platforms to develop individual apps for separate games for download on the app store. This would bypass problems with requirements around one launcher.

Catalog apps are also permitted on the provider they links to games in the service but those games open within their own app. Those individual apps then include the in-app purchase for Apple to get its 30%. It is a slightly sloppy system that Microsoft has criticized, but the company was willing to work with Apple to find a solution.

Wright says the company offered Apple to make individual Xbox Game Streaming apps. The company would have a main streaming app weight 150MB that would host the streaming technology, and then 30MB snippet apps for the games. Microsoft was also willing to offer Xbox exclusive games that are not available on Xbox Game Pass.

However, Apple stuck to its position and said the method would still violate its terms. Specifically, to use an in-app purchase to unlock benefits away from iOS.

Tip of the day: The Windows Sandbox gives Windows 10/11 Pro and Enterprise users a safe space to run suspicious apps without risk. In out tutorial we show you how to enable the Windows Sandbox feature.

Source Winbuzzer

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