Original Xbox Controller Coming to Xbox One

Xbox co-founder Seamus Blackley has officially confirmed that the original Xbox controller is going to be making a comeback for the Xbox One. Affectionately (and unofficially) nicknamed the Duke, the first ever controlled for the Xbox quickly became legendary among gamers for its sheer size, feeling a little more like a steering wheel than an actual console controller. After its release with the first Xbox back in 2001, the unwieldy and slightly ridiculous controller was slimmed down over the next few years, slowly becoming a much more reasonable size.

It’s time for a little nostalgic game-playing, though, as Xbox co-founder Seamus Blackley has now revealed that the Duke will be making a comeback – presumably in time for the 2017 holiday season. The remake will include a few improvements, of course, but the announcement has been met with some good-natured amusement (and more than a little nostalgia) as gamers remember how cumbersome the Duke really was.

Related: Xbox One X Scorpio Edition: What’s Different Explained

The annoucement came on Blackley’s Twitter, where he posted an image of the controller with the caption “#NewDuke has gone to tooling and is approved by @Xbox THIS IS HAPPENING!” He confirmed in another tweet that there would be some changes to the new model, but it would have “the same old feel,” and also tweeted a video of his mock-up for the new model with the caption: “I can finally show my miserable OLED mockup. #DUKE #XBOXE3 everyone should thank @Hyperkin @XboxP3 @Shpeshal_Ed.”

The new controller is being made by Hyperkin, who also took to Twitter to tell gamers to keep an eye out for pre-orders, although no specific release date has yet been announced. These tweets confirm only that Microsoft has approved the return of the Duke, and that it has gone to tooling.

Xbox fans are left wondering what the unspecified “improvements” are going to be, with the addition of bumpers seeming to be a necessity for many recent games. Other improvements reportedly include a nine-foot breakaway cord, and the fancy new screen was shown off to good effect in Blackley’s video – although this short clip does not show what the full capabilities of this screen will be. The addition of the screen does help explain why anyone would need such a massive controller again, as it will presumably be able to do some pretty cool (and helpful) things for the player. However, there is no doubt that part of the reason the Duke is back is to capitalize on the nostalgia factor, as gamers who originally owned the massive piece of hardware will enjoy feeling like they’ve returned to the early days of Xbox.

The remodeled Duke is predicted to be in stores for the holidays.

Source: GamesRadar

There’s an update hitting the Xbox Insider Alpha Ring, squashing more nasty bugs

Microsoft is issuing an update to the Xbox’s Alpha Ring (and part of the Delta ring) to fix a few bugs.

As we head towards the public launch of the 1710 Xbox One update, Microsoft is working hard to polish the new dashboard and its features on the Xbox Insider Program. This latest build fixes issues with the new USB camera functionality, Games & Apps, and much more.


OS version released: rs3_release_xbox_dev_1710.170920-1900

Available: 6:00PM PDT 9/22 (1:00AM GMT 23/9)


  • This update will be available to a select subset of Preview Delta participants (not all of Preview Delta will receive the update).
  • This update may become available and mandatory to selected Preview Delta participants at different times than those listed above.
  • Not all selected Preview Delta participants will receive the update at the same time.


Games & Apps

  • Fixed an issue which sometimes caused games to crash or fail to launch.
  • Fixed an issue which sometimes caused errors when launching games while downloading in the background.
  • Home Fixed an issue which could sometimes cause the dashboard to load to a black screen when resuming from connected standby.
  • USB Camera Enhanced error messages for USB camera issues.
  • Profile Fixed an issue which prevented scrolling sideways in the Welcome and Social tabs.

Game Hub

  • The focus should no longer get stuck when navigating between tabs in Game Hub. #
  • The tab buttons in Game Hub no longer have a black glow.
  • Light Theme Resolved visual contrast issues in messaging, the entertainment twist, and the Mixer twist.


  • Backgrounds Setting a background from recent achievement art does not function.
  • Blu-Ray Player 3D Blu-Ray content may not correctly play in 3D.
  • Sign-in When using Arabic or Hebrew language and signing in with a profile using the “Lock it down” security preference, the sign-in screen which requests Microsoft account e-mail address and password is distorted. This does not affect the profile if it is set to use the “Ask for my passkey” or “No barriers” security preferences. Workaround: Set the console to use another language, sign-in, and set the profile’s security preference to “Ask for my passkey” or “No barriers”. Alternatively, you can still type in your password as normal using the virtual keyboard though the screen is distorted.
  • Netflix When using Hebrew language, Netflix fails to launch. A fix for this issue will be available soon.

The 1710 update should drop some time around October 2017, as its name suggests. New avatars, game gifting, and more should be on the way in coming builds, we’ll just have to wait and see.

CCleaner Infection More Severe Than Thought, Targeted Microsoft, Google, Samsung

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Earlier this week, we reported on news that the popular system maintenance app CCleaner had been infected by malware for nearly a month. We now know the attack was worse than initially thought. The CCleaner malware could be used to deliver a second-stage payload that would run on local systems and perform various tasks. This isn’t an unusual malware feature, but researchers didn’t think the capability had been used in this case. We now know that it was, and that some of the internet’s biggest players were targeted.

We now know how many computers were affected — 2.27 million total, which is far less than the 5 million per day that was originally estimated based on CCleaner’s download popularity. But that’s about the only good news in the entire situation. Here’s how Avast, which owns CCleaner, describes the situation:

[T]he server logs indicated 20 machines in a total of 8 organizations to which the 2nd stage payload was sent, but given that the logs were only collected for little over three days, the actual number of computers that received the 2nd stage payload was likely at least in the order of hundreds. This is a change from our previous statement, in which we said that to the best of our knowledge, the 2nd stage payload never delivered.

Talos Intelligence has published a list of targeted domains over the few days for which it has data. The list reveals a swath of targeted companies, including internal Microsoft domains, Samsung, Sony, Intel, Google, Cisco, and D-Link. Given that this list only covers three days out of more than 20 days the malware was active, it’s likely that other companies were also hit.


A list of probed targets. Some are internal networks.

Avast reports that the secondary payload was highly f0cused, heavily obfuscated to avoid automatic detection, and was designed to connect to a CnC server that could be shifted to one of any number of domains. Taking command-and-control servers offline is one of the most effective ways to stop an outbreak; a malware package that can repeatedly reconnect to a list of servers is more likely to remain active in the face of such action.

The DLLs inside the payload are fairly interesting. They inject malicious code directly into other legitimate DLLs and save their own malicious code directly into the registry. This is not a fly-by-night attack or casual probe. The malware and delivery method were sophisticated attempts to penetrate specific companies, likely looking for further exploits or backdoors.

Research into the attack is ongoing. As of this writing, the various companies investigating the malware are not certain if any secondary payloads were successful in stealing information or not. If you want to dig into the details of the malware, we recommend Talos Intelligence’s blog post (linked above), which contains more low-level information than Avast’s.

Now read: 20 Best Privacy Tips

Motorola Has Fallen | The Stute

It’s 2005. Your mother’s Motorola RAZR is state of the art in the world of pink engineering. By 2007, 130 million RAZR phones had been sold. It was featured in Lost, Top Gear, Burn Notice, and other notable TV shows and movies at the time due to its popularity.  Motorola had gained ground on Nokia, the leading phone manufacturer at the time, which meant the landscape was much more diverse than today. Nokia had the largest market share at 35% and Motorola was in second place with 21%. They had momentum to build on.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Apple, which made iPods and computers, released a product no one expected: the iPhone. Existing phone manufacturers were stunned at the level of polish and user friendliness offered by the entirely new experience. Well, maybe they did in private. Publicly, many companies released statements that are now just plain embarrassing. Steve Balmer, the CEO of Microsoft at the time, said “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” The CEO of Nokia said they would not change their thinking or approach. The CEO of Palm said, “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

Motorola stayed quiet and just kept their tears inside, I suppose. They already had smartphones on the market that were being outclassed immediately.  Their first two smartphones came out in 2003, although they were hardly ‘smart.’ The Motorola Q was the smartphone best fit to compete with the iPhone at the time. It ran a terrible Windows mobile operating system and had no touchscreen support. Basically, it was nothing like the iPhone and a poor competitor.

It was two more years until Motorola had a more worthy competitor: the Motorola Droid. The Droid had been made in partnership with Verizon to compete directly with the iPhone. It had a touchscreen and a slide out keyboard to give people the best of both worlds. At least, that was the idea at the time. It ran a very early version of Android that was still not up to par. By this time, Motorola had lost market share all the way down to less than 5%. They had not responded fast enough to the new market pressures put on by Apple.

In early 2011, Motorola split into two separate companies. The first, called Motorola Solutions, kept all the profitable areas of their business, including police technologies, radios, and other commercial needs. Motorola Mobility was the second, and it was strictly their phone business and all its misfortune. By 2012, Motorola held just below 2% market share. They had one good thing going for them though. Google purchased Motorola Mobility and their entire patent portfolio for $ 12.9 billion that year.

Google’s purchase brought some excitement to the fans of Motorola’s Android devices. The Moto X, released in 2014, was one of the best smartphones of the year. Motorola was making competitive devices under Google, but they were not gaining market share. Then, it all fell apart. In late 2014, the remainder of Motorola Mobility was sold off to Lenovo for only 2.91 billion. Google had kept all the patents to itself and dumped the rest.

Present day Motorola Mobility is only kept alive by the ‘Moto by Lenovo’ branding to appeal to western customers. Almost all the staff that were part of Motorola have been let go and the devices Lenovo has been putting out under this branding is underwhelming.  It’s truly disappointing that the stellar devices Motorola was working on in 2014 could not have continued, as a continuation of those devices might have brought them back into the game. Instead, we all watched as they slowly died. Motorola Solutions lives on, but their legendary phones are now just a thing of the past.

CCleaner malware targeted networks at Google, Microsoft, Samsung

The malware attack on Windows utility CCleaner may have been more targeted and sophisticated than it seemed. In the days since the attack was announced, researchers have been poring through data from a seized command and control center, finding evidence that the attackers were using the compromise to target some of the world’s most powerful tech companies.

New posts from Avast and Cisco’s Talos research group detail the findings, as first reported by Wired. At the time the server was seized, the attackers were targeting a string of internal domains with a second-stage payload, designed to collect data and provide persistent access to any infected device.

The list of domains, published by Talos, reveals a number of major tech companies. “Ntdev.corp.microsoft.com” is an internal domain for Windows developers, while hq.gmail.com appears to be the internal Gmail instance for Google employees. Other targets include Sony, Samsung, Intel, and Akamai. The domains also include a German slot machine company and major telecoms in Singapore and the United Kingdom.

The list only includes domains that were targeted during the four days before the server was seized, so it’s entirely possible other companies were targeted earlier in the campaign. Still, the nature of the two-stage payload suggests the attack was targeted, aiming to break into specific companies rather than compromise millions of computers at once. “This was a typical watering hole attack where the vast majority of users were uninteresting for the attacker, but select ones were,” Avast researchers wrote. Researchers now estimate only 700,000 computers were exposed by the attack, down from earlier estimates of 2.2 million.

It’s still unclear which companies were successfully compromised. Talos registered at least 20 computers that were targeted by the payload, but researchers have not disclosed which companies were involved. It’s also unclear what the attackers were looking for, although Talos notes that the domains targeted “would suggest a very focused actor after valuable intellectual property.”

Neither group has made an official attribution, but Kaspersky researchers have noted significant overlapping code between the CCleaner attack and previous attacks by the Axiom threat group, a finding that Talos confirmed. Previous research has tied the Axiom group to Chinese intelligence services with moderate to high confidence.

Still, researchers are likely to learn more about the campaign in the weeks to come. Data from the initial command server has revealed several other servers used in the attack, which law enforcement is currently working to locate and seize.

Four Halo games now playable on Xbox One via backward compatibility

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Seeing strange fonts on your Xbox One? Here’s why.

Don’t worry, your Xbox One isn’t broken – that mangled text is part of the localization process. Here’s what it means and its use in Xbox development.

Microsoft has recently begun ramping up development on the upcoming fall update for Xbox One, which is set to deliver a wave of new features across the console. Among these changes is a reworked user interface influenced heavily by the company’s “Fluent Design System,” delivering a system-wide overhaul aiming to deliver new texture and depth the experience as a whole.

As the update approaches its final release, a select subset of users can now get hands-on with an in-progress version of the operating system, via the Xbox Insider Program. However, as new features begin to appear, you may have noticed some strange fonts throughout the Xbox One dashboard. And as ugly as they may seem, these play a role in development across the Xbox OS.

What causes strange fonts in Xbox Preview builds?

In Xbox Preview builds, Microsoft adopts a technique known as “pseudo-localization,” to test foreign characters and how they interact with the user interface. By exchanging various characters and symbols for similar counterparts, this allows developers to test how different types of text are displayed and prepare for localization, without going to the effort of translating into multiple languages. Essentially, this is a fake form of translation used in the development process, before actual translations begin.

How pseudo-localization works is relatively straightforward and achieved by finding characters from foreign languages and exchanging them with similar characters in English text. Although its implementation can vary, Microsoft uses a pseudo-localization language that’s relatively easy to read at a glance.

Why use pseudo-localization in Xbox Preview builds?

Although a universal font is used across a majority of the Xbox One OS, due to the nature of different alphabets, variations in text can be expected with different languages. Whereas a new section of the dashboard may look great with a traditional English alphabet, when switching to a language with vastly different characters, the flow of a design can change.

If switching to different alphabets, text can expand and contract, depending on the type and number of characters used. And with the addition of Arabic and Hebrew in the fall update (the first right-to-left languages for the OS) text direction is another factor to consider. All of these can result in drastic changes in vertical and horizontal positioning, which can lead to truncated text and other visual errors to hinder the user experience.

Here’s an example of strings produced through pseudo-localization, similar to those seen as a part of in-progress versions of the Xbox One OS. As shown, text can vary between the two display types, with several different traits to consider.

This is how text may look in an Xbox Preview build, following pseudo-localization

Tћïƨ ïƨ ћôω ƭèжƭ ₥ᥠlôôƙ ïñ áñ Xβôж ÞřèƲïèω βúïℓδ, ƒôℓℓôωïñϱ ƥƨèúδô-ℓôçáℓïƺáƭïôñ

By emulating these changes through pseudo-localization, formatting errors can be quickly spotted and corrected. This helps to find and solve glaring issues earlier in development and prevents potential delays when the true translation process is underway. Furthermore, this can all be tested by an English speaker.

Pseudo-localization also ensures unwanted English text isn’t hard-coded into the source code, to prevent strings from not altering between language switches. This makes it clear that English resources are being loaded due to your language preferences, rather being a fixed aspect of the OS.

When an Xbox update finally rolls out to the public traces of pseudo-localization are removed from the OS. However, as an Xbox Insider, these are one of the several byproducts of development you’ll see in preview builds. With the need to test localization, this is something that can’t be disabled but provides a peek behind the curtain at Xbox development.

For more information on the upcoming Xbox One fall update, make sure to take a look at our complete breakdown of changes so far.

CCleaner malware operators targeted tech firms including Cisco, Microsoft, Samsung


File Photo

The threat actors behind the use of malware embedded in CCleaner have targeted large tech firms for their intellectual property.

According to the security team at Cisco Systems, Cisco was only one of many companies that hackers attempted to compromise. Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Sony, and Intel, among others, were potentially also at risk.

The CCleaner breach, disclosed earlier this week, involved cyberattackers modifying legitimate versions of the software to contain malware. It is estimated that the tainted version of the popular Android and Windows PC cleaner has been downloaded roughly 2.27 million times, or by up to three percent of overall users.

Piriform, the makers of CCleaner, was snapped up by Avast in July this year. Avast believes the platform was targeted before the buyout was complete.

The affected version is 5.33.6162, designed for 32-bit Windows machines, released on 15 August, as well as a version of CCleaner Cloud, released on 24 August.

“The compromised version of CCleaner was released on August 15 and went undetected by any security company for four weeks, underscoring the sophistication of the attack,” Avast said earlier this week. “In our view, it was a well-prepared operation and the fact that it didn’t cause harm to users is a very good outcome.”

The malware’s command-and-control (C&C) server was taken down once the threat was detected; however, Cisco said late on Wednesday that this is not the end of the story.

According to the Cisco Talos security team, the C&C record shows a payload deployment list which includes a list of organizations “specifically targeted through delivery of a second-stage loader.”



Based on a review of the C&C’s tracking database — which covers only four days in September — at least 20 victim machines from these companies were in line to be served secondary payloads.

“This would suggest a very focused actor after valuable intellectual property,” the team says. “These new findings raise our level of concern about these events, as elements of our research point towards a possible unknown, sophisticated actor.”

The C&C server contained PHP files responsible for handling communication between infected PCs and threat actors. The server would implement a series of checks in order to avoid the efforts of security researchers as well as gather information from infected systems, such as OS version, architecture, and whether admin rights were in play. This information was then stored in an SQL database.

If a system met the malware’s requirements, the second payload would be deployed to create a backdoor and potentially pave the way for attackers to steal information and spy on the target companies.

“The web server also contains a second PHP file (init.php) that defines core variables and operations used,” Cisco says. “Interestingly, this configuration specifies “PRC” as the time zone, which corresponds with People’s Republic of China (PRC). It’s important to note that this cannot be relied on for attribution.”

No damage may have been detected as of yet, but the addition of these C&C instructions does suggest the breach is more serious than first believed. Targeting high-profile targets with a seemingly innocuous and innocent piece of software is a clever method, but seeking information from these groups suggests that the general public is not the true focus of the campaign.

While Avast has recommended that consumers update to a clean version of the software and remove the tainted version, Cisco has gone further in recommendations to companies which may have been involved.

“Those impacted by this supply chain attack should not simply remove the affected version of CCleaner or update to the latest version, but should restore from backups or reimage systems to ensure that they completely remove not only the backdoored version of CCleaner but also any other malware that may be resident on the system,” the company said.

Update 11.56BST:

Avast has published additional findings on the situation.

In a blog post, the security firm said 20 machines in a total of eight companies were targeted, “but given that the logs were only collected for little over three days, the actual number of computers that received the 2nd stage payload was likely at least in the order of hundreds.”

“This is a change from our previous statement, in which we said that to the best of our knowledge, the 2nd stage payload never delivered,” Avast added.

In addition, the security firm says that the attack was a “typical” watering hole attack, which deployed malicious DLLs designed to inject malicious functionality into legitimate DLL systems.

Previous and related coverage

Would Cross-Platform for PUBG Work With PC and Xbox One? I Played Against PC Players Using an Xbox One Controller

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, with 10 million copies sold so far, is one of the biggest video game releases of the year. The fact that Microsoft managed to score publishing rights for the console release on the Xbox One is a big coup. So how does the PC game translate for consoles? I recently got a chance to play PUBG with an Xbox One controller against PC players. While I didn’t get any Chicken Dinners, I have some thoughts about the new control scheme and what it might mean for cross-platform play.

Just to be clear, Microsoft didn’t confirm cross-platform for PUBG, but given Microsoft’s hard push for the feature, Brendan Green’s enthusiasm for it, and the fact that keyboard and mouse controls are heavily rumored for the Xbox One, I think it’s worth investigating.

Winner, winner

Even if cross-platform functionality never comes out, PUBG is one of the most popular PC games currently available and soon console-only players will get a chance to experience the carnage. And that’s primarily who this preview is for. Since Xbox One controller support has only been available for the PC version of the game for about a month, you might be a console player who’s been hearing about PUBG for months but haven’t played it. So if you’re looking forward to playing it with a controller this preview is for you.

Likewise, during my playtime with PUBG at an Xbox One X preview event I was told that I was playing against PC players so maybe you’re interested in reading about what a potential match might look like between a mouse-and-keyboard player and a controller user?

The answer isn’t as dramatic as you might think.


So, PUBG on an Xbox One controller how did it feel? It felt like how a third-person shooter might feel on a controller but with the exception of maybe having just barely enough buttons for all the possible actions.

Running and firing controls were all par for the course with the left and right triggers pulling up aim and fire respectively, and character movement and camera movement dictated by the two control sticks. The D-Pad let me cycle through the various weapons and items I picked up, while the option button brought up a map.The left bumper let me switch to first person mode and the right bumper let me cycle through the camera perspective. Oh and of course there were the lettered buttons of which Y let me reload, B let me crouch, A let me jump, and X let me interact with weapons and items. That also doesn’t mention that clicking the control sticks let me lean and sprint.

It’s a pretty standard control scheme, but PUBG is a game that requires a lot of input and it took a while to memorize the Xbox One controller’s setup. Some mishaps happened along the way of course like in the initial stages of the game where players are aboard a large carrier airplane and must choose when to parachute out onto the murder island. On the plane, I pulled up my map to flag a suitable location to jump to, however no matter which buttons I pressed, none of them seemed to let me set a waypoint on my map. Then I accidentally pressed the X button and out I went without a location to go to.

I’m not saying the controllers are confusing, but it did feel a little cluttered at times. I’m sure when I spend more time with it, the inputs will become like second nature. But I did find myself fumbling with my weapons at key moments of my first game, and when split second decisions determine life-or-death, chicken dinners or hunger, there’s no room for mistakes. Especially mistakes like accidentally cycling to a pistol when you wanted the smg and getting shot dead while flipping through weapons. I placed 63rd that round.

The next game was a lot faster but that’s because I made the mistake of jumping into a car. I again accidentally pressed the wrong button but this time while driving at high speeds, jumping out and injuring myself. A nearby player picked me off and I placed 82nd that time.

Map of the PUBG Gamescom Invitational

PUBG is a high-stakes, relatively fast game. 100 players jump from a plane and land on a massive island level. Armed with nothing at first, players must scavenge the island looking for weapons and armor, while trying to fend off attacks from any potential enemies. Then there’s the blue circle which starts shrinking, killing any unfortunate soul that spends too long outside of its boundaries. The circle will continue to shrink and players will continue to die until you’re the last one standing. Pretty simple right?

The beauty of PUBG lies in the fact that victory is determined by two factors: luck and skill. While controllers won’t determine the former factor, the latter can be affected by what you use to play, or at least it could. During my time at the preview event I happened to watch one incredibly tall San Francisco-based games journalist make it to rank 2 before getting cornered and killed in the game’s final stretches. So really, you can win using a controller though I personally never got far enough to see if it all came down to mouse and keyboard vs. gamepad that determined who would ultimately win a chicken dinner.

Still, I don’t think it would be the end of the world if Microsoft and Blue Hole decided to let Xbox One PUBG players and PC players fight it out against one another, especially in a game as determined by luck as much as it is skill. While it’s probably fair to say that at towards the end game the great equalizer is skill, the Xbox One controller won’t necessarily determine the victor. Especially if Blue Hole is looking into ways that might overcome the differences between mouse-and-keyboard and gamepad controls like they say they are.

As one of the hottest games of the year, and the Xbox’s big exclusive (rumors are that it will be timed or in a limited capacity), PUBG might be the perfect petri dish to test competitive cross-platform play. Personally, I think it’s a functionality worth pursuing for the both of them.

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Call of Duty: WWII will run at 4K with HDR on Xbox One X

Details on Call of Duty: WWII’s Xbox One X enhancements have quietly emerged, promising both 4K and HDR on the console.

Call of Duty, one of the largest shooter franchises of today, is returning to its roots later this year with a new World War 2 themed title. Unsurprisingly named “Call of Duty: WW2,” the game moves away from recent trends in the series, by abandoning near-future warfare in favor of a historical setting.

As a part of a marketing deal with Sony, the game’s publisher, Activision, has been keen to promote PlayStation 4 (PS4) versions of the game. This has left few details on what to expect from the rival release on Xbox One – let alone the enhancements in store for the upcoming Xbox One X. However, following a recently updated listing from UK retailer GAME (via charlieINTEL), specific details on Xbox One X enhancements have surfaced.

For many titles launching with visual upgrades on Xbox One X, box art designs are being reworked to highlight these features. Icons for both 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) have been spotted on the latest retail packaging, indicating these upgrades will be available at launch on the console. Amidst a close marketing deal with Sony is comes as no surprise Activision has remained quiet leading up to the Xbox One X launch, however, this should be a welcome sight for those picking up the device this November.

In the months since its unveiling Activision has highlighted a slew of changes in the pipeline for Call of Duty: WWII – most notably a shift toward “boots on the ground” combat. When paired with new single player mechanics, multiplayer tweaks and the return of Nazi Zombies, the game is making one of the most inventive games (at least for Call of Duty) in some time.

Are you looking forward to these Xbox One X enhancements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

A complete list of ‘Xbox One X Enhanced’ games (up to 4K, HDR)

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