2020 was a big year for Microsoft Flight Simulator. After a decade and a half away, Microsoft’s partnership with French studio Asobo delivered a sterling return to the world of hardcore simulation, and a little more besides – centred around a feat I still haven’t tired of as I explore new corners of the world. It harnessed the breadth and depth of Microsoft’s technical expertise, from Bing to Azure, to create a truly breathtaking 1:1 replica of the entire globe. Small wonder it ended up being one of my – and many others – games of the year.

“[The reception] has been so generous,” head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann tells me over Microsoft Teams (naturally) of the sim’s first few months. “When you come back after 14 years, you wonder how you’re going to be received. You were gone for a while, the segment has moved. But I … Read the rest

They say be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. To be honest, on Commencement Day at Syracuse University with my freshly inked Newhouse School of Television, Radio and Film Production diploma in hand, I could never have imagined the career that I have had so far.

It started with a phone call.

In 1995, my wife and I joined the newly launched MSN. As vendors, we managed the Television Community, soon followed by the Soaps Community. Several years later, we shifted gears and worked with the MSN team to host hundreds of celebrity chat events known as MSN Live. One day, in December of 2000, my wife received a call from a friend at MSN, asking if I might be interested in the newly created role of Editor-in-Chief of MSN Music.

It was the call that changed everything. At the time, I was working in the … Read the rest

AMD was the second big chipmaker to deliver a CES 2021 press conference, with Team Red announcing new Ryzen 5000 series processors for laptops while teasing new Radeon graphics cards and Big Navi on laptops coming soon. Here’s what you need to know!

First up, the number of new mobile chips that debuted in the 40-minute conference was kind of insane. AMD announced 13 new processors, including 10 models with current-gen Zen 3 designs and three with last-gen Zen 2 chips instead, with the latter mostly at the bottom end of the lineup and costing less. Like last year’s Ryzen 4000 chips, the new processors are split into high performance (‘H’) and ultra-thin-friendly (‘U’) designs, with six or eight cores in the vast majority. If you’re familiar with AMD’s Ryzen 9, Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 naming scheme on desktop, you’ll be pleased to know that the same … Read the rest

Xbox Live

Glitch's Trip

Rogue Games, Inc.


3
$12.99
Xbox One X Enhanced
Glitch was relaxing at his favorite chill spot on his home planet of Verdo, when beams of energy began pouring out from the planet's moons. Unknown to him, four intergalactic tyrants had set up breweries to harvest one of the tastiest elixirs in the galaxy, Moon Juice. The secret ingredient, the life force of the planet! A highly addictive juice, Glitch needs to stop the production of Moon Juice before Verdo will wither away and become a wasteland.

Game Features:

-With 100 handcrafted levels, there is a lot to experience in this vibrant action platformer.

-4 epic bosses stand in your way to save Verdo. Liberate each moon from the tyrant occupying it and unlock the story of how they were corrupted by Moon Juice many

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The Last Guardian can run at 60 frames per second on PlayStation 5, making it the ultimate way to play the game. That’s the headline and the video on this page speaks for itself. We’ve never seen director Fumito Ueda’s creation run so smoothly on any platform, and certainly not on its original release back in 2016. In fact, by default, the game runs at 30fps on PS5, requiring access to the original gold master version of the title – preserved on Blu-ray disc – to let this classic title spread its wings on Sony’s next generation hardware.

There are many legacy PlayStation 4 titles that see transformative improvements when run on PS5 under backwards compatibility, but The Last Guardian is special simply because of how challenging it is to run well on either of Sony’s last-gen machines, with frame-rates often dipping well beneath the 30fps target. And just whyRead the rest

Xbox Live

Little Nightmares II DEMO

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe

Return to a world of charming horror in Little Nightmares II, a suspense adventure game in which you play as Mono, a young boy trapped in a world that has been distorted by the humming transmission of a distant tower.

This demo will let you discover the Wilderness and its bloodthirsty Resident: the Hunter for a taste of the adventures awaiting you in the full game.

Will you dare to face this collection of new, little nightmares?

Little Nightmares II is also available for digital pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One and Xbox Series X below:
Xbox Live

Little Nightmares II Pre-Order

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.


5
$29.99
Pre-order Little Nightmares II and receive the Mokujin Hat as wearable
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AMD’s brand new RDNA 2 architecture has arrived for desktop PCs via the RX 6000 line of graphics cards – and it’s an important release, bringing with it full hardware support for the DirectX 12 Ultimate feature set, including the DXR API. Yes, ray tracing is now part and parcel of AMD’s high-end parts, and we wanted to get a grip on just how effective the Radeon rendition of the technology is in the RX 6800 XT – and how it compares to its closest rival, the RTX 3080. Benchmarks have shown that Nvidia’s second generation technology is faster than AMD’s debut offering, but what’s the full story here?

To help put this piece together, XFX sent me a factory overclocked example of the RX 6800 XT, specifically the Speedster Merc 319 edition of the card. Using its own tri-fan cooler design, this monstrous card delivers boost clocks rated at … Read the rest

Here are this week’s games and add-on deals available from the Microsoft Games Store. Discounts are valid now through 18 January 2021 (actual end date varies by sale).

These deals will expire at 11:00 am UTC on Tuesday January 19th 2021

Xbox One Deals

 

Content Title Content Type Discount Notes
Monopoly Plus Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S 70% DWG*
New Super Lucky’s Tale Xbox Game Pass 30% DWG*
UNO Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S w/ Free Trial 50% DWG*
Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition Optimized For Xbox Series X|S 33% DWG*
Carto Xbox Game Pass 20% DWG*
Hasbro Family Fun Pack – Super Edition Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S 70% DWG*
Rabbids Invasion – Gold Edition Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S 75% DWG*
39 Days to Mars Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S 33% DWG*
Antiquia Lost Xbox One X Enhanced 40% DWG*
BATTLESHIP Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S 60% DWG*
Boggle
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Cyberpunk 2077 – one of the very biggest games of 2020 and also one of the most contentious, most notably because on last-gen consoles, the experience is sub-par to the say the least. The next-gen machines fare better, but there’s another contender to consider too: Google’s Stadia streaming platform. The closer we looked at the Stadia port, the more interesting it became, and in actual fact, there are scenarios that see it deliver improved visuals over the Xbox Series X rendition of the game.

Coming to these conclusions and getting the data I needed was problematic. In the current Covid situation, ensuring we’re playing Stadia at its best when our home internet connection doesn’t play ball is a bit of a challenge. You can get the full story in the embedded video below, but suffice to say, after driving out to cell towers, rigging an in-car portable capture system, then … Read the rest

Bungie jumps onto next-gen systems with extra support for Destiny 2 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S and X, delivering the key feature many fans have been waiting for – a move to 60 frames per second gaming. But how successful has the next generation transition been? How do the three new consoles compare and what are the key upgrades beyond the boost to frame-rate? Bungie has a reputation not just of excellent visual design and solid technology, but also in delivering very similar experiences across platforms – and so it is with Destiny 2.

To get the basics out of the way, Destiny 2 delivers true 4K resolution on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, with pixel counts resolving at a native 3840×2160 on each in a vast majority of test shots. Bungie has developed a dynamic resolution system for this engine (as notably used on PS4 pro), and … Read the rest