Microsoft’s concluded its E3 2021 showcase with a rather cool announcement: the Xbox Series X-shaped mini fridge, which the company promised to make after defeating Skittles in a Twitter poll, will be released in holiday 2021.
Microsoft is promising that the upcoming Xbox Mini Fridge (the official name) is “the world’s most powerful mini fridge,” an obvious play on one of the company’s key marketing points for the Xbox Series X console. But Microsoft took the joke further, spotlighting the fridge’s “Xbox Velocity Cooling Architecture” (a pun on the Xbox Series X’s “Velocity Architecture”) in a trailer.
When the Xbox Series X was first announced in 2019, people instantly memed on its boxy shape and compared it to a refrigerator — a meme that Microsoft eventually leaned into itself on social media. And the upcoming Xbox Mini Fridge actually isn’t the first refrigerator shaped like an Xbox Series X. The company gave away a real, full-sized, Series X-shaped fridge in November.
Forza Horizon 5 is the next title in the Forza franchise, and it’s coming to Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC on November 9th, and will also be available from day one on Xbox Game Pass.
Developed by Playground Games, the open-world driving game 5 transports players to the diverse and stunning landscapes of Mexico, featuring rainforests and even driving on a dormant volcano.
While Forza Horizon 5 will also be available Xbox One — and surely the last Forza title for the platform — this latest installment promises to leverage the power of the Series consoles, with features like ray-tracing. After all, the stunning trailer really speaks for itself.
During the Xbox and Bethesda showcase, Phil Spencer also confirmed that Turn 10 Studios are hard at work on developing the next mainline Forza Motorsport title.
The remastered take on arguably the best Diablo game is launching this fall. At E3 Blizzard announced that Diablo II: Resurrected will be available on September 23rd. It’s coming to the PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch. Blizzard says that, if you’re playing on capable hardware, the game “supports up to 4K resolution and includes fully remastered 7.1 Dolby Surround audio.” That said, you can also go retro, with an option to play in the original 800×600 resolution.
Resurrected was first announced at a virtual Blizzcon event earlier this year, but it’s also part of a bigger push for the franchise. In addition to the remaster, Diablo is also expanding to mobile, while the flagship Diablo IV is also in the works — though it’s not clear when it will launch. An open beta for Resurrected’s multiplayer will be available in August on “supporting platforms.”
Microsoft Flight Simulator is landing on Xbox Series X / S consoles on July 27th. Available on Xbox Game Pass, it’s the first next-gen-exclusive Xbox Game Studios title as Microsoft Flight Simulator isn’t launching on Xbox One. Microsoft revealed a gameplay trailer for Flight Simulator on Xbox Series X today, and it looks very much like the PC version running in 4K.
How well the game performs on the Xbox Series X / S may rely upon developers Asobo Studio moving Flight Simulator over to DirectX 12. This work has been in progress for a while now, and it should include big performance improvements on the PC side, too. Microsoft Flight Simulator is notoriously CPU and GPU intensive at 4K ultra settings, with even the latest processors and GPUs struggle to hit 60fps.
Microsoft’s Flight Simulator head Jorg Neumann told The Verge last year that “Xbox is certainly reinvigorating our optimization efforts,” so it’s likely that the Xbox version is far more optimize for the hardware involved.
We’ll find out soon enough, as Microsoft Flight Simulator launches on Xbox Series X / S on July 27th. Microsoft also announced a new Top Gun expansion for Flight Simulator which will arrive later this year.
Supergiant Games’ excellent roguelike Hades, which was one of the best games of 2020, is coming to Xbox and PlayStation consoles on August 13th. It will be available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, PS4, and PS5. And if you’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, you’ll have access to the game on August 13th as well.
Supergiant is also offering physical editions of the game in partnership with Private Division. The Xbox physical edition will work on both Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles, and there will be separate physical versions for PS4 and PS5. But if you pick up the physical or digital PS4 version of the game, you’ll be entitled to a free upgrade to the PS5 version.
The PS5 version of the game will also take advantage of some of the DualSense controller’s special features such as haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, Supergiant Games creative director Greg Kasavin said on the PlayStation blog.
As for performance, “the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Hades run at 1080p at a target 60 frames per second,” Supergiant Games said on its blog. “The Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 versions run at 4K at a target 60 frames per second.” The Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game won’t support the PC cross-save feature that the Nintendo Switch version has, however.
343 Industries is back and ready to demo more Halo Infinite. Today at Microsoft’s Xbox + Bethesda showcase, we got a new look at the multiplayer side of Halo Infinite. The game will run at up to 120fps in this mode on the Xbox Series X, and offer classics like capture the flag mixed in with new abilities like using a grapple hook to pick up objects.
“When it comes to gameplay, our goal is to deliver a multiplayer experience that honors classic Halo combat while also offering new players the support needed to jump in and have a great time,” says Joseph Staten, creative lead for Halo Infinite. “To that end, we’re introducing the Spartan Academy and Spartan Commander Laurette who will help players familiarize themselves with maps, weapons, and equipment.”
343 Industries is also adding in bots matches into Halo Infinite, “so players new and old can warm up before they hit the battlefield.” The multiplayer part of Halo Infinite will be free-to-play across Xbox and PC, and 343 Industries is supporting both crossplay and cross-progression.
A behavior-based anti-cheat system will be in place, that runs on the server side. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t mention if and when there will be a beta for Halo Infinite multiplayer, nor when it will launch. Both the campaign and multiplayer modes of Halo Infinite will launch simultaneously later this year during the fall.
This latest demo is the first time we’ve seen Halo Infinite gameplay since the eight minutes of footage shown nearly a year ago. Reception to the game was mixed last year, with some criticizing the graphics and visuals in the game. This led to 343 Industries delaying the game to 2021, and a leadership shakeup for the Halo Infinite team. 343 also admitting “we do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game.”
Back 4 Blood has been confirmed as an Xbox Game Pass title available to play from day one when it launches on October 12th. It’ll be available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4.
The new trailer for the co-op zombie shooter revealed during the Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase also announced new swamp and PvP modes. Those who want to try out the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead will be able to take part in an open beta running from August 12th to 16th. Players who pre-order the game will be get early access to the beta from August 5th to 9th.
More gameplay details are expected later today during Warner Bros Games’ Back 4 Blood showcase.
We’re finally getting a look at Starfield today, Bethesda’s first new unique universe in more than 25 years. Starfield, as the name implies, is set in space, and a new teaser trailer reveals it will launch exclusively on Xbox Series X / S and PC on November 11th, 2022. The trailer first leaked over at The Washington Postjust minutes before Microsoft’s Xbox + Bethesda event.
While there isn’t much much gameplay shown in the trailer, Bethesda describes the game as something where “you’ll be who you want, go where you want.” It’s focused on a last group of explorers in space, and Bethesda is opening up a teaser site today that will provide more information about Starfield.
A separate video, also published early by The Washington Post, offers a look at the making of Starfield. Bethesda says “it’s a game we’ve dreamt of playing,” and Starfield is only appearing now thanks to “the hardware, the technology, and the experience” to deliver this type of game set in space. Starfield will also be powered by Bethesda’s new Creation Engine 2.
This is only an early glimpse at Starfield, we’re bound to see even more in the coming months ahead.
(Pocket-lint) – Audeze is a big name in high-end audio – it specialises in planar magnetic headphones that get up to eye-watering prices. However, it’s also recently been making strides in gaming, with more and more headsets coming to its line-up.
Best PS5 and PS4 headset: Superb Playstation gaming headphones
The company’s first wireless console headset comes in the form of the Penrose, available in two versions for PlayStation or Xbox users, and we’ve been using it day in, day out for a number of weeks to see if it lives up to Audeze’s lofty reputation.
Memory foam pads
The Penrose might come from a premium heritage, but it’s actually fairly unremarkable to look at – calling it generic would be far too harsh, but there’s not much here to catch your eye. That could also be spun as subtlety, of course.
We’ve been using the PlayStation version, which features blue accents around each earcup – the the only splash of colour on an otherwise grey and black design. If you pick the Xbox model then these are bright green instead. It’s all very on brand.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with a headset that doesn’t look over-the-top. The Penrose also has plenty of neat touches up its sleeve. For one, the all-important microphone can be removed when you’re not using it. That’s not quite as helpful as a retractable or stowable microphone that you can’t therefore lose, but it’s still appreciated.
Best Xbox headsets: Superb headphones for Xbox Series X, Series S and Xbox One
There’s also a manual mute switch on one earcup, positioned just above the main power button, in case you want to remove your voice from a chat that way. Holding this button turns the Penrose on, and it’ll quickly connect to the included dongle if its plugged into your console or PC. This connection is solid and reliable even if you wander off to grab a drink in a next-door room – although its range isn’t endless.
One the same earcup you also find two dials: one for the master volume; another to adjust your microphone’s pickup – which is a good pairing for on-the-fly adjustments if you’re in party chat while you game. It’s a little hard to be sure which one you’re touching at first, but you’ll get used to it.
A huge part of any headset’s success is in the wearing, though, and here the Penrose doesn’t quite excel. It’s not the lightest headset we’ve used, and has a noticeably tight fit that can feel a little clamp-like on your head. After a few dozen hours of wearing it, though, this has abated somewhat, and we’re now finding it comfortable to wear for hours at a time. That’s most likely helped by the memory foam in its cushioning.
While it might not look particularly astonishing, then, the Penrose is obviously built to a high standard, and feels really sturdy, too. Fragile headsets are a menace on your wallet, so it’s good to know that you’re paying for quality. We just wish it was a little more comfortable from the off.
100mm planar magnetic drivers
Dual 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connectivity
Wired connection also available
If its design is straightforward, Audeze is extremely proud of its headset’s raw sound quality. It’s here the Penrose does a solid job of matching the hype once you drop into a game.
Steelseries celebrates its 20th anniversary, a legacy of glory
By Pocket-lint Promotion
The drivers Audeze use are planar magnetic ones – which makes for lightning-fast reponse times and little to no distortion. That means whether you’re caught in a huge bassy explosion or if a soundtrack is full of intricate high-end notes you’ll find it easy to pick it all out accurately.
In more mundane terms, it means that the Penrose is in the top grade of headsets we’ve tried when it comes to competitive environments – for example, being able to pick out the famously inconsistent footstep sounds in Call of Duty: Warzone. Its sound is clear and doesn’t rely on too much bass, making for a really enjoyable experience.
When you use it in a native PS5 game, this is all the more impressive. Resident Evil Village, for example, was frankly a bit too terrifying, with the Penrose reproducing the game’s 3D audio absolutely brilliantly.
Another key facet in this performance is the closed-back design, which is one of the most isolating we’ve tried on a gaming headset – even with no sound playing, you’re kind-of ‘closed in’ nicely. There’s no active noise cancellation (ANC) to be found, but we nonetheless felt entirely immersed.
You have the option to connect via Bluetooth to other devices, too, if you prefer, and there’s also a 3.5mm jack in case you run out of battery and need to go old-school, which is again a useful fall-back.
Battery life is stated at 15 hours, but we found that we struggled to make it that far before running into the need to charge via USB-C. That’s not a terrible standard, but it’s equally outclassed by plenty of more affordable options.
Finally, we turn to the microphone – a key feature for anyone looking to play online with friends. The good news is that it’s an impressive one, with clear and accurate pickup.
The included wind-muffler is an extra that helps with ensuring your breathing isn’t picked up, but even without it you should be fine. That said, you might find that you hear your own breath, even if the headset isn’t transmitting that through to your chat, which can occasionally be distracting – but is also fixable by tweaking your pickup level manually.
If your core concern is sound quality, at the expense of anything else, the Audeze Penrose is mightily persuasive and will make a great investment.
However, on factors like comfort and battery life it’s outclassed by a lot of other headsets that we’ve tried, including many that are around half of its price – and these options don’t exactly sound terrible either.
So while the Penrose has offered some of the best sound we’ve experience from a console – especially over a wireless connection and with 3D audio truly immersing us – that makes it one to think hard about before you take the pluge.
Steelseries Arctis 7P
If you want a PlayStation headset that’s extremely comfortable to wear and still sounds extremely solid (though it can’t compete with the Penrose), this option from Steelseries is a winner. It’s nearly half the price of Audeze’s effort, but we prefer its design and it’s like a cloud to wear over multiple hours.
EPOS GSP 370
Alternatively, if you want to bring the budget down even further but your main concern is having enormous battery life, this option from EPOS is almost baffling on the battery front. It offers a mind-boggling 80 hours between charges, which is perfect for forgetful types who don’t want to charge after every session.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Mike Lowe.
Devolver Digital made its return to E3 with another no-holds-barred satirical swipe at the games industry, taking shots at subscriptions, games as a service, and even NFTs. Dubbed the Devolver MaxPass Plus — “the new era of monetization as a service” — the spoof showcase features the infamous Devolver executive Nina Struthers and her cohorts extolling the ridiculous virtues of its new service.
But besides being the most irreverently entertaining segment of E3 (so far), the publisher also included some new game announcements. Here are the most notable:
Trek to Yomi
The first of these was the cinematic Trek to Yomi, with a trailer that’s refreshingly not actually a pre-rendered cinematic. The black-and-white game follows a young samurai who is sworn to protect his town and the people he loves against all threats. The game is coming to PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One in 2022.
Wizard with a Gun
Wizard with a Gun lives up to its title as an online co-op sandbox survival game where you face dangerous creatures armed with magic and guns. It’s coming to PC and consoles in 2022.
Inscryption comes from the creator of Pony Island and The Hex, which combines deckbuilding with roguelike mechanics, escape-room style puzzles, and psychological horror. It’s coming to PC later this year.
Devolver Tumble Time
Despite the satirical trailer, Devolver Tumble Time is actually a real physics-based puzzle game featuring a roster of characters from Devolver Games. It’s a free game coming to mobile, although there will probably be ads to watch, because nothing is ever really free.
Demon Throttle is an 8-bit game from developer Doinksoft, the creators of Gato Roboto. Besides its old-school gameplay, what makes this title stand out that it’s not only a Nintendo Switch exclusive, it’s a completely physical-only release from Special Reserve Games.
After introducing the guerrilla freedom fighter protagonist for Far Cry 6, Ubisoft’s new trailer pivots back to the highlight of any new installment: its villain, Antón Castillo.
Played by Giancarlo Esposito, the despotic leader of the fictional island nation of Yara is seen making his terrifying entrance onboard a boat where the protagonist Dani is attempting to flee with a group, one of them who turns out to be Diego, Castillo’s son.
The cinematic is a chilling introduction as he chews the scenery with his charisma before unleashing his brutality, which is surely the turning point for what making Dani join the resistance to overthrow the Yaran tyrant.
The Far Cry series is of course known for its iconic villains, and Ubisoft were keen to leverage this by announcing post-launch plans for Far Cry 6 that will actually let players see the other side of the story from past games.
In the Far Cry 6 season pass, you’ll get to play as Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3), Pagan Min (Far Cry 4), and Joseph Seed (Far Cry 5) in three unique episodes as you delve inside these legendary villains’ minds to uncover their backstories and experience what it’s like to be the villain. Of course, as Esposito had said in an interview with Geoff Keighley during the Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live stream, none of them think they’re the bad guy.
Michael Mando, Troy Baker, and Greg Bryk, also return to reprise the voice roles of Vaas, Pagan Min, and Joseph Seed respectively.
As an added bonus, the season pass will also include the cyberpunk-themed Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
Far Cry 6 launches on October 7th on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC, Stadia, and Amazon Luna.
Ubisoft capped off its E3 keynote with a big surprise: a first look at Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. The next-gen take on James Cameron’s world looks gorgeous, and Ubisoft says it’s being built with its own Snowdrop engine at internal studio Massive.
Here’s the story premise:
In this new, standalone story, play as a Na’vi and embark on a journey across the Western Frontier, a never-before-seen part of Pandora. Explore a living and reactive world inhabited by unique creatures and new characters, and push back the formidable RDA forces that threaten it.
The game appears to be built with next-gen hardware in mind. Frontiers of Pandora is slated for release on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X / S, along with cloud services Google Stadia and Amazon Luna.
It also isn’t the only sci-fi universe Ubisoft is exploring: the publisher previously revealed that it was making an open-world Star Wars game, which is also been made by Massive.
Ubisoft’s upcoming extreme sports MMO, Riders Republic, will launch on September 2nd, the company announced at its Ubisoft Forward show on Saturday.
In a nearly five-minute trailer, Ubisoft showed off some of the sports that you can play, including biking, snowboarding, and even wing suiting. The game will have a variety of modes, including mass races (with more than 50 players on next-gen consoles) and six vs. six trick battles. And you’ll also be able to customize your player with all sorts of gear — in the trailer, I think I spotted a biker with a built-in ice cream stand on their bike, for example.
Riders Republic will be available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and PC when it launches in September, and the game will support crossplay and cross-save across all platforms, Ubisoft says. You can register now for the chance to participate in upcoming betas for the game ahead of launch.
Previously known as Rainbow Six Quarantine, Ubisoft finally revealed Rainbow Six Extraction during its Ubisoft Forward conference on Saturday. The presentation started with a cinematic reveal; Extraction is set in the same Rainbow Six universe, featuring Siege operators such as Hibana, who’s gone Missing in Action. United under the Rainbow Exogenous Analysis and Containment Team (REACT), you form a team with other operators on a rescue mission and face a creepy alien threat known as the Archean. Here’s the trailer:
A deep dive gameplay trailer reveals Extraction as PvE co-op experience for up to three players where you’ll be able to choose from a roster of 18 Rainbow Six Operators with their own unique gadgets, weapons, and abilities. Extraction is set across 12 maps, which feature procedurally generated challenges, and a diverse set of enemies and infestations that evolve into greater threats the deeper you go in. Working with your team, using tactics, and making tough decisions will be essential to survival.
Rainbow Six Extraction is coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, and Stadia on September 16th.
Soon the Xbox experience will come baked right into your TV. That’s thanks to an Xbox TV app that Microsoft is launching that will bring games directly to your big screen with no console required.
Don’t have a smart TV? No problem. Microsoft has streaming devices in the works, too, which will bring Xbox gaming to any set with an HDMI port.
Microsoft made the announcement ahead of the E3 games conference, which kicks off tomorrow.
“We’re working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Game Pass experience directly into internet-connected TVs so all you’ll need to play is a controller,” the blog post reads.
There’s no word on when the app will launch, nor which TV makers will offer it. There’s also no mention of which games will be available, although the suggestion appears to be that it will tied into Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate service, which gives subscribers unlimited access to over 100 top-tier games (including all first-party Microsoft titles) for £10.99 ($14.99, AU$15.95) a month.
The spec of your TV will likely matter a bit, too, but the speed of your internet connection will likely be a bigger factor. Both the Xbox Series X and S are powerhouse consoles, so with no dedicated games machine in the equation, all that processing grunt will have to be handled somewhere.
“We’re also developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection, you can stream your Xbox experience,” the post goes on. These could be a streaming stick or dongle along the lines of the Google Chromecast with Google TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, or it could be a bigger, Apple TV 4K-sized device.
The Vergedescribes it specifically as an xCloud streaming stick, but this appears to be an assumption on their part as Microsoft hasn’t confirmed this in the announcement.
Microsoft is also opening up cloud gaming to more devices by enabling it through the Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Apple Safari web browsers. According to Microsoft, “players will be a click away from gaming on almost any device.” Again, there’s no word on hardware or internet requirements.
Xbox’s Phil Spencer has previously hinted at these developments, saying in November that he would expect the TV app to land within a year. So it could be a Christmas treat for anyone still unable to lay their hands on a new Xbox.
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