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The Xbox Series X launch window was defined by a lack of platform showcases, availability issues, and smart quality-of-life improvements
On November 10, 2020, Microsoft released the Xbox Series X – a premium home console that leveraged a new benchmark for power and performance against a lingering sense of familiarity. In my Xbox Series X review, I said that it was “a powerful and capable machine that sets Microsoft up for the future,” explaining that “this is a system set up for evolution, iteration, and success […], a great gaming console with only a few games on the immediate horizon designed to take full advantage of it.” Six months later, progress on that front has proven to be incremental.
Perhaps that was always going to be the case. Microsoft has clearly struggled to reconcile its broader plans against the ongoing pandemic. This state of play has contributed to everything from delays of first-party exclusives like Halo Infinite to ongoing problems with the production of parts for the system itself. If you’re wondering whether you can buy an Xbox Series X six months after launch, the answer, sadly, is that you can’t. Not easily, at least.
Stock shortages during COVID-19 is a problem Microsoft shares with Sony and Nintendo – an unlikely equaliser at the beginning of a new generation for the platform holders, one that shows no sign of changing anytime soon. Ben Decker, head of gaming services at Xbox, tells me that Microsoft is happy with how the first six months have gone, even if it’s harder for folk to get their hands on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S than the company would like. “The reception from our fans and the broader gaming community has been really positive. I think people are excited about the capabilities of the new consoles, and we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about the choice we’ve created across the Xbox Series X and the Series S. We’ve been really pleased with the launch.”
“And I think it’s our best launch ever,” Decker continues. “Transparently, we wish we had some more supply, but we’re working all the time; there’s a lot of demand and people are really excited about the new consoles. In the meantime, we’re going to continue to support across all these [Xbox Series, Windows 10, Xbox Cloud Gaming] different platforms, so you will have plenty of options of where to play and we’re trying to continue to fulfil the demand for the Series X and the Series S.”Putting stock problems to one side, one of my larger issues is surrounding exclusives – or the lack thereof. Much of my criticism of the Xbox Series X at review surrounded the lack of a true showcase to really demonstrate the capabilities of the console and, six months later, I feel like I’m still waiting for it. Bloober Team’s The Medium came and went with little fanfare, although its system-intensive dual-world mechanic showed a lot of promise for the future. But there’s that phrase again; promise for the future.
By the time the Xbox One reached the six-month mark, we had Titanfall. With the Xbox 360, we had The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. We’re living in a drastically different ecosystem to that of 2014 and 2006, respectively, but the point remains true all the same. While I don’t doubt that Microsoft will put together one hell of a Fall release schedule at E3 2021 (there are 23 first-party studios with games to show and dates to announce, not to mention a raft of second- and third-party partnerships in the pipeline), it’s hard to not be disappointed with how little we’ve seen that can put test the potential of the Series X so far. As it stands, I’m using my Xbox Series X to almost exclusively play the exact same games that I was playing last generation (and, funnily enough, the two that preceded it). Xbox Game Studios breakdown: From Bethesda to Rare, here’s every game that Microsoft’s first-party studios are working on
Truth be told, the Xbox Series X has faded into the background of my living room – it has quickly become my number one place to play games and consume entertainment. The console is quick, quiet, and easy to use; reaching for the Xbox Series X controller when I shuffle two feet from my deck to my couch at the end of a long day has become instinctual, second nature. Quick Resume lets me bounce easily between games I’m currently playing with little delay, thanks to the console’s capacity to hold multiple titles in a suspended state. The proliferation of cross-play means that I’m able to meet up with friends in games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends, and Sea of Thieves without needing to abandon the creature comforts of Xbox Live. The expanding Game Pass library and ongoing support of backwards compatibility, combined with improvements to system-level feature sets such as Auto-HDR and FPS Boost, have given me an excuse to dive back into my Xbox library to experience some of my last-gen favourites with a more evocative color palette or drastically improved framerate.
It’s been fun, enough so that it almost made me forget that I’m playing the exact same games six months into a new generation that I was six months before it launched, simply because there is no alternative. We’re also waiting on true Xbox Series X updates of some of the platform’s most popular games, be it Warzone, Cyberpunk 2077, or GTA Online. As a result of all of this, it feels like I’m still being teased for what might come later down the line – you think Halo: The Master Chief Collection is great running at 120fps, just wait until you see Halo Infinite; Forza Horizon 4 sure looks good in 4K at 60fps, well, the new Forza Motorsport will blow your freaking mind.
I’m done with being teased; I want the future I was sold through a relentless multi-year marketing campaign. Conversely, whenever I turn the PS5 on, it’s only to play something new and I’m spoilt for choice. I’m still chewing through Demon’s Souls, Astro’s Playroom, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Returnal, and I’m having a great time doing it, even if it means having to wrestle with the particulars of the PlayStation 5’s UI, DualSense controller, and somewhat buggy operating system.The lack of new games to play distorts what has otherwise been a successful six months for the Xbox Series X. If you’re able to get your hands on one, I find it difficult to believe that you’ll find a reason to regret the purchase of an Xbox Series X. It runs quietly and coolly, and the range of services the Xbox division offers through it remains an unbelievable value proposition. The OS is surprisingly bug-free too, the result of Microsoft deciding to iterate upon the Xbox One system rather than overhaul it for a new generation – that familiarity again, a double-edged sword of sorts for the Series X right now. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing some long-overdue updates in the way Friends, Followers, Groups, matchmaking, and reporting are handled on the Xbox Live backend.
Where Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Xbox on Windows 10 seem to be improving at a fast clip, good updates to the core console offering are coming, albeit slowly. The ability to suspend games to speed up downloads on Series X was long overdue. Auto-HDR and FPS Boost are fantastic improvements to backwards compatibility. The incoming change to Quick Resume, which takes the Game Switcher functionality of the PS5 and integrates it directly into the Xbox Series X Guide, letting you see which games are held in a suspended state, is a fantastic solution to a problem many (myself included) raised at review. Frustratingly, the dashboard still appears to be outputting in 1080p (as opposed to 4K, like the PS5, which has a crisp and colourful UI of its own), and having my TV flip from SDR to HDR every time I launch a game is annoying.
Ultimately, the Xbox Series X is in a good place. The Xbox Series X controller is fantastic, the console’s connectivity with the Xbox App has removed so much of the friction once imposed by OneDrive and Upload Studio with Capture in the Xbox One era, and Xbox’s continued focus on improving backwards compatibility highlights that the company understands the importance of preservation. I’m just desperate to see the power and potential of the Xbox Series X expressed through the lens of new releases only available within the Xbox ecosystem.
Josh West is Features Editor of GamesRadar+. With over 10 years experience in both online and print journalism, Josh has written for a number of gaming, entertainment, music, and tech publications, including 3D Artist, Edge, gamesTM, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. He holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing, has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh plays bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in movies and TV shows that you’ve definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.
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Ohio State vs. Penn State: Live stream, watch online, TV channel, prediction, pick, football game spread, odds – CBSSports.com
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No. 20 Penn State travels to Columbus on Saturday to square off with No. 5 Ohio State in a game that once looked to be one of the best games of the season. The divisional showdown has lost a bit of luster in recent weeks, however. Earlier this month, many anticipated this being a clash between two top-five teams battling for Big Ten East supremacy and a possible College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, a lot has changed since.
While the Buckeyes recovered nicely from its early-season loss to Oregon and dominated its Big Ten competition, the Nittany Lions cannot say the same. Going on the road and losing to Iowa 23-20 after losing quarterback Sean Clifford late in the first half was forgivable and understandable. Losing 20-18 in nine overtimes to 3-5 Illinois last Saturday is something different. Not only did that knock Penn State down 13 spots in the AP Top 25, it all but eliminated it from Big Ten title contention. The Nittany Lions now have two conference losses in a division with three teams that have yet to lose a conference game.
The good news for Penn State is that it still gets to play all three starting this weekend, but the bad news is there’s little reason it can beat all three.
It’s better for the Big Ten if Ohio State wins: We’re almost to the time of year when playoff rankings will be released. If you’re the Big Ten, the most important thing is that you get at least one team in the playoff, but ideally, you’d love to get two. A Penn State win here would seriously hurt any chance of the latter coming to fruition. It would be Ohio State’s second loss of the season and history has shown that two losses are one too many.
With both Michigan and Michigan State playing earlier in the day, the conference will be down to only one undefeated team by kickoff. Of course, if you’re a Penn State fan, you don’t care about any of this, nor should you. All you care about is ending a two-game losing streak and getting the season back on track.
This could be the start of C.J. Stroud’s Heisman campaign: Stroud has been on fire in October. Although he threw for 484 yards and three touchdowns in Ohio State’s loss to Oregon, he’d been failing to live up to the lofty expectations that Buckeyes fans have for their QB after watching Justin Fields.
After sitting out of the Akron game because of an injury, Stroud has been lighting up the Big Ten. Over his last three games, he’s thrown for 1,032 yards, 14 touchdowns and no interceptions. Of course, he’s done this against Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana, so it hasn’t garnered much attention. But if Stroud can keep that up by lighting up a good Penn State secondary, you can be sure his Heisman candidacy will receive a significant boost.
Penn State needs to figure out a way to run the football: It’s been a serious problem for the Nittany Lions all season long, not just in their last two losses. This offense ranks 99th nationally with an average of 3.54 yards per carry, 99th in rushing success rate (48.7%) and 116th in total rush EPA (-40.73). There’s only been one game this season in which the Lions averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry, and that was a 44-13 win over Ball State in which they finished with exactly 5.0 yards per carry.
One of the best ways to slow down the Ohio State offense is to keep it off the field, and the best way to do that — particularly when you have a banged-up QB like Clifford — is handing the ball off. If the Nittany Lions are going to go to Columbus and shock the world, they’re going to have to run the ball somehow.
Date: Saturday, October 30 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ohio Stadium — Columbus, Ohio
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
This point spread is not an accurate reflection of the difference between these two teams at their best, but it accurately depicts where they are right now. Clifford was well below 100% during Penn State’s loss to Illinois, and if he’s not healthy, an already limited offense becomes even more of a liability. Also, losing defensive lineman P.J. Mustipher for the season had a noticeable impact on the Penn State rush defense against Illinois. Now that same unit has to stop running back TreVeyon Henderson while also covering all the weapons Ohio State has in the passing game. I just don’t see how Penn State can keep up with this Ohio State team right now. Prediction: Ohio State (-18.5)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 9, and which top-10 team will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,900 in profit over the past five-plus seasons — and find out.
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Sony's PS5 redesign is much lighter – but does it look any different? – Creative Bloq
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By 21 July 2021
We just hope it’ll be easier to get hold of.
If you’ve managed to get anywhere near a PS5 in the last few months (no mean feat considering the console’s popularity), you’ll know that it’s big. Very big. Ever since the machine was launched last year, its gargantuan size has been the subject of countless mocking memes. But a slightly more svelte PlayStation 5 could already be on the way.
As spotted by one Twitter user (below), tweaked PS5 manuals appear to confirm a new ‘digital edition’ model, which is a whole 300g lighter than the standard version. It isn’t clear exactly how this weight loss will be achieved, but the arrival of a new model could be good news for anyone who hasn’t managed to get hold of one yet (here’s where to buy a PS5 if you fancy your chances).
It appears a PlayStation 5 Digital Edition revision (CFI-1100B) is being listed by Japanese retailersThis revision is 300g lighter than the previous model (CFI-1000B) and also features a different screw https://t.co/zQOSkzfdn8July 20, 2021
It seems the new PS5, listed as CFI-1100B, will weigh around 3.6kg as opposed to the current model’s 3.9kg. Not only that, but the new model will no longer require a screwdriver when adding or removing the stand. Hardly a groundbreaking design tweak, but hey – perhaps you’ve found yourself desperate to stand your PS5 up sans screwdriver.
Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Sony has made any other design changes to shave off that 300g. We’ve already heard that the company is planning a redesign in an attempt to get stock moving again – a shortage of semi-conductors is behind delays to the production, and Sony is keen to “find maybe a secondary resource”, or speed things up by “changing the design.”
We can’t help but hope Sony does take the opportunity to tweak the appearance of the PS5. Maybe it could take a cue from this wildly popular all-black PS5 mod. Or even this ridiculous water-cooled PS5. Whatever happens, anything that speeds up the production line is a good thing in our book. Until then, check out today’s best games console deals below – and be sure to take a look at these awesome Nintendo Switch deals.
Daniel Piper is senior news editor at Creative Bloq, and an authority on all things art, design, branding and tech. He has a particular penchant for Apple products – some corners of the internet might call him an ‘iSheep’, but he’s fine with this. It doesn’t bother him at all. Why would it? They’re just really nicely designed products, okay? Daniel is also a comedian and national poetry slam champion, and his favourite Bond is, obviously, Sean Connery.
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When AC Valhalla's Last DLC Update Is Coming | Screen Rant – Screen Rant
The release date of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s newest DLC isn’t official yet, but signs point to when players can expect its release in early 2022.
After the release of Ubisoft’s official trailer this summer at E3, it’s clear players can expect another DLC for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. While an official release date has not been set yet, there are a number of clues available which provide a reliable idea of how soon the DLC’s release can be expected. As Ubisoft indicates in its trailer, there is more content coming in the game’s second year.
In a recent financial report covering the first half of the 2021-22 fiscal year, Ubisoft provided some insights concerning the importance of AC Valhalla to its overall financial performance and its plans concerning upcoming expansions to the game. Given that the fiscal year ends on March 31, 2022, this narrows down the timeline for the DLC’s release considerably.
Overall, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has been very profitable for Ubisoft. To date, the title has already earned the developer its second-largest profit ever. Given its performance thus far, Ubisoft is determined to continue its success by releasing new content in the game’s second year, something that hasn’t been done for the AC franchise before. Judging by the clues and leaks now available, fans of the franchise can hope to dive back into the game’s mythical storyline by late winter or early-spring next year. The last DLC release date for AC Valhalla is most likely early 2022.
As per usual, Ubisoft is keeping the details of the DLC’s contents close to its chest. However, some sleuthing for clues from the game’s latest software patch has gleaned some information regarding what the DLC will be about. Leakers j0nathan and AndyReloads on YouTube have revealed from their datamining that the DLC’s title will be Dawn of Ragnarök and the storyline’s setting will take place in the dwarven realm of Svartalfheim. This reveals Ubisoft’s intention to turn its attention to the mythical storyline within the game, following in the same vein as the Asgard and Jotunheim sequences.
Ubisoft’s official expansions trailer provided clips of some intriguing concept art, including depictions of a Muspelheim gate with dwarven dwellings in the background. Datamined leaks provided by AndyReloads reveal a trove of information, including Svartalfheim’s map, similar in size to England and Francia, and new achievement quests as well. Pieces of code indicate one discovery quest involves locating all the “dwarven shelters” on the map, the completion of which earns the player a trophy in AC Valhalla.
Datamining performed by j0nathan provides clues concerning new abilities as well. For instance, the “raven form” ability will allow Eivor to transform into a raven for a limited period of time, fly around the map, and land at specific locations. Other new abilities appear to also include enveloping Eivor in an icy or fiery layer of skin and a teleportation-style dodge. It is not clear yet whether some or all of these abilities will be limited to the Dawn of Ragnarök storyline.
If these leaks and clues are any indications of what’s to come in the new DLC, there is plenty left in-store for AC Valhalla fans. The new DLC’s return to the game’s mythical setting and storyline will hopefully satisfy players who have enjoyed experiencing Asgard and Jotunheim and playing through mythical stories integral to Viking lore and history. It seems all signs point to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s continuation of success for the AC franchise and Ubisoft.
Next: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Most Hidden Easter Eggs
Sources: j0nathan, AndyReloads/YouTube
Melissa Chance is Gaming Feature Writer for Screen Rant, writing game analysis articles. She also is an adjunct instructor for SNHU teaching World Literature and was previously an assistant professor for a community college. She earned her Master of Liberal Arts in composition and literature from Henderson State University in 2010. As such, she enjoys exploring and analyzing games for their theme and social commentary alongside playing for the sake of escaping the trappings of a mundane world. Currently, Melissa is based in the Florida panhandle with her wife and son where she is pursuing her career in freelance writing and currently working toward a degree in Cyber Security. She enjoys a variety of gaming platforms including Xbox, PlayStation, PC, mobile, and table-top games. Additionally, Melissa is also an avid fisherman, writer, amateur philosopher, and just as nerdy in person as this biography portrays.
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