Xbox One X News: 4K Game Updates, PS4 Pro sales, Microsoft on VR and a Halo Scorpio secret
Microsoft has announced a few interesting pieces of news regarding its upcoming Xbox One X console this week, starting with most notably the news from Mike Ybarra that Alpha ring members can now start preparing for the launch by downloading 4K content updates.
This functionality was announced during the Xbox live show at Gamescom in August.
Essentially you can transfer any of your Xbox One Enhanced games to the new console via external storage or network transfer.
This way you don’t need to download everything on November 7th when you pick you your new console.
In addition to this, preparations for the Xbox One X launch are well underway at The Coalition, the devs behind Gears of War 4.
They’ve announced that they will be pushing One X enhancements for the game out alongside a new October map update later this month.
“As we prepare for the Xbox One X Enhancements coming this November (more on that in a second), the release of the October Map Drop will coincide with our Xbox One X Ready Update in late October”, The Coalition announced in a post on its website.
The Xbox One X update will allow the game to support HDR assets, as well as allow the game to support full, native 4K resolution.
These updates are due to drop sometime during October – well before the console itself launches on November 7 next month.
Microsoft premieres Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console
Xbox One X was designed to be the best console to create and play games on, putting the greatest graphic fidelity in the hands of the world’s best game creators to create true 4K games. Coming to all Xbox One markets starting Nov. 7, Xbox One X will retail for $499 USD and £449 GBP
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The Xbox Scorpio was said to support “high-fidelity” virtual reality when it was announced at E3 2016, although not much has been heard about it since.
Although the PlayStation PSVR headsets haven’t necessarily set the world alight, the unit, which many might consider more niche and for a limited crowd, has still shipped 1 million unit.
Now, for the first time in a while, Xbox has opened up about the possibility of VR on Xbox One X – but it doesn’t sound like good news.
Speaking to Wired, Albert Penello, senior director of product management and planning at Microsoft explained why.
“We learned with Kinect and the Wii that just translating a typical game experience to VR is not a winning strategy.
“It’s the oddball VR-specific stuff that makes it sing. It wasn’t something we wanted to distract developers with this year.”
While we don’t want to put words into Penello’s mouth, it certainly doesn’t sound as though he believes it has mainstream appeal
He also did not feel the technology had mainstream appeal, retorting to Wired: “Is it a viable consumer product? For a certain size of audience.”
It’s worth noting that Penello hasn’t ruled it out completely and the senior Xbox official did say that “there’s still a tonne of experimentation in VR.”
But we wouldn’t hold our breath for any Xbox One X VR announcements anytime soon.
Xbox One Games with Gold October CONFIRMED
Here’s the games you can download with Games with Gold in October
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As alluded to before, there’s less than one month to go until the official launch of the Xbox One X and Microsoft will sure be hoping it helps bridge the gap in sales with Sony’s PS4 which has steamed ahead this generation.
Thankfully, Microsoft and Xbox One fans have been handed some slightly positive news from Lewis Ward, IDC Research Director for Gaming and VR/AR who was speaking to GamesTM in their latest issue.
Speaking about how well Xbox One X could do, Ward said:
“No, the XB1X won’t be enough for Microsoft to catch up. It should give PlayStation 4 Pro a run for its money in 2018 in the United States and the United Kingdom, however.
“I’m projecting about four million XB1X consoles shipped from Q4 2017 through the end of 2018, and about five million PlayStation 4 Pro consoles shipped in the same timeframe.
“The way shipments break down globally, however, that implies a very tight race in the United States and the United Kingdom.”
Although this is still a big win for the PS4 Pro, it doesn’t perhaps reflect the price difference and actually implies that the years ahead could feature a much closer battle for supremacy between the two console makers.
Xbox One X’s cool Master Chief/Project Scorpio Easter Egg
Finally, for this week it has been that revealed that Microsoft is up to its old tricks once again, hiding a fun little Easter egg inside the Xbox One X, repeating the stunt that proved so successful with the Xbox One S last year.
The S featured a small Master Chief logo etched on the inside of the slimline Xbox console launched last year and in a similar fashion, Microsoft has included a little-hidden image inside the Xbox One X.
It’s unlikely you’ll ever actually see it yourself – unless you break it or void the warranty – but inside, etched onto the console’s circuit board you’ll find a little Halo Master Chief riding on top of a scorpion.
A wonderful homage to both the Project Scorpio codename Microsoft used and a clever play on words considering the Chief would occasionally use tanks in the games which were known as Scorpions
Microsoft’s broader Xbox strategy for the last few years has involved a strong focus on hardware, resulting in last year’s cheaper Xbox One S and the upcoming release next month of the more powerful Xbox One X. But another long-term focus within the Xbox division, one that can’t be solved with faster components, is making the device easier and more pleasant to use. That’s the job of software and an ever-changing user interface, and it’s what Chris Novak, Microsoft’s head of Xbox design, spends his days thinking about.
“When you talk to customers and ask them what they want,” Novak tells me, “when you line all of those things up, they’re dramatically in conflict.” He says building software to please tens of millions of users, given how drastically gaming has changed in just the last three to four years, is a daunting task. There’s no way to please everyone, but Novak and his team think there might be a path toward making more people happier with the Xbox experience over time than ever before.
We’re in a conference room at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters, having just gone over a number of new concepts the design team is working on to improve the Xbox One’s core software. For Novak, designing the Xbox One dashboard — the main hub of the system and the software layer users interact with most outside playing games — is as personal a process as decorating someone’s home. It almost always involves conflicting ideas, and one person’s preferences are often at odds with another’s.
“It’s just as intimate as if you were to walk into somebody’s home and look at their furniture and living room and choose what to have around them,” Novak says. “You can pick one of those and be wrong for a majority of users. We know that change, any change, carries with it a muscle memory tax and a cognitive load tax.” When in doubt, he adds, you might have to just leave it alone. But to change something critical, and to do so drastically, “you really have to have confidence… that the end state of this is going to be better for the majority of users.”
Novak is talking about the challenges of designing one thing for many people, but he’s also speaking personally to the experience of overseeing the Xbox One dashboard. It’s no secret that the Xbox One’s software has been controversial since the device’s 2013 launch. The interface has often befuddled users, burying tasks under submenus and uneconomically using large swaths of space to feature memory-hogging images. The design has fluctuated over the years, borrowing aesthetically from the company’s Windows Metro tile interface and the dated, boxy design of the Xbox 360 dashboard.
The Xbox software design team doesn’t look at this choice as a waving of the white flag, or a concession that it just doesn’t know what users want. Rather, they see it as the natural evolution of where it decided it must go. “The easy choice is to only satisfy the hardest of the hardcore, or the newest of the new. Both of those things are bad,” Novak says. “We needed to build a UI that was flexible, that could really bring the right thing to gamers, and give them the right way to tell us what they wanted.”
Complicating the whole task, as Novak points out, is the fact that game consoles have changed dramatically since the days of the Xbox 360, when a majority of mainstream consumers first began connecting these devices to the internet. Gone are the days when the boxes under our TVs were used almost exclusively for games. Starting more than a decade ago, game consoles morphed into do-everything media and entertainment hubs.
Now, when factoring in even newer services and viewing habits like live game streaming and the fragmented pay-TV app ecosystem, game consoles are tasked with handling a dizzying number of starkly different software objectives, each with their own specific design needs. Contrast the UI specificities of having an onboard 4K Blu-ray player and a video streaming app drawer with a web browser, a digital storefront, a cloud save, and file and hard drive management system, and you have a dashboard that feels like it needs all the complexities of a full-blown PC. In many ways, an Xbox One already is a PC: the console now runs a slimmed-down version of Windows 10.
However, the Xbox design team doesn’t think of the device’s software as if it should or needs to be as complex and capable as a full-blown desktop OS. That runs the risk of confusing users, obfuscating obvious tasks and features, and creating a bogged-down mess of software that makes it more difficult and time-consuming to get to where you need to go and do what you want to do. Instead, the Xbox One runs Windows 10, but a stripped-down version of it, tailored to what Microsoft thinks users want and designed to be navigated quickly with a controller, not a mouse and keyboard.
“We don’t have an agonistic relationship to the content,” says John Snavely, Microsoft’s console design lead. “We have a passionate relationship to games, gaming, media. We know our users are very passionate.” Snavely says the dashboard’s framework is not meant to treat games, Netflix, Twitch, or any number of other apps and services as identical. Rather, it’s about anticipating a player’s needs, he says, and letting that player make choices that help inform that system so that its algorithmic decision-making gets more specific and more accurate over time.
“It’s about an experience that’s not competing for every hour of your day,” Snavely adds. “It’s competing for the hours of the day you spend having fun. It sounds like a constraint, but it’s really a way for us to get more deeply involved.” This is how Microsoft arrived at its most recent dashboard refresh, with the heavy focus on customization and what Novak and Snavely refer to as “blocks,” which are rectangular design pieces that will change from game to game and be customizable depending on how a player likes to interact with that particular title.
“When you look at what people respond to in any kind of interface or feed, the thing they respond to most of all is being able to mute things,” Novak says. “There are some things they just don’t ever want to see.” Now, users will pin items to a top row on the home tab of their Xbox One, choosing which items get surfaced first instead of relying on software to make those choices.
“Then there’s the question of how does that block represent a game over the period of time,” adds Snavely. “How do I customize it through use? Even if you and I play the same game, we’ll play it differently. What we’re trying to engender here in the UI is the ability to make those distinctions.” The team is still working out to what extent users will be able to customize the home screen and the blocks that populate it. Early screen renders, provided to The Verge, showcase the ability to have the software prioritize and surface a list of your friends playing the title, achievements, or live streams, among other items, all based on your preferences and how complex you decide to make that game’s block.
Ultimately, Microsoft wants the Xbox One’s dashboard to not only be fast, simple, and customizable, but for it to learn from the choices you make. To illustrate the point, Novak introduces a hypothetical. “There’s a game that’s fallen out of your most recently played list and your friends are piling into it. With today’s UI, you would not know that,” he says. But over time, as you teach the Xbox One what you like, the goal is to have flag that activity and direct you toward the fun. “That’s our intent,” Novak says, “to make sure you’re aware of the things you would enjoy.”
As with any new iOS update, iOS 11 has hundreds of big and small features to improve your experience. While some changes are visible outright (for instance, the Control Center and new App Store), iOS 11 has a lot more features than meet the eye. These little hidden features and tricks can help improve the way you work and play.
There’s a new document Scanner built into the Notes app now. Sure, apps like Office Lens have had this feature for a while now (and we still can’t recommend Office Lens enough), but it’s nice to have this built in now. Fire up the Notes app and click the + button in a note. The camera will pop up and you can snap a photo of a document, bill, visiting card or similar item that you want scanned. It auto detects the edges of the paper and even corrects the perspective and colour temperature.
You can record everything you do on the screen as a video. You’ll find this in the options when you customise the control center. Go to Settings > Control Center > Customise Controls. Under the list of more controls, press the + against Screen Recording. Now when you pull up the Control Center, the Screen Recorder can be invoked with a single tap. Once you’re finished, tap the record button again and the video will be saved to the photo library automatically. You can easily trim the video and share it immediately. Great for instructional videos.
Low on Storage?
The iPhone 8 and X start with 64GB storage which should be enough for most people. In case you still have an older iPhone, managing the 16 or 32GB storage has been made easier in iOS 11. Head to iPhone Storage in Settings and it will show you a snapshot of memory usage, you can offload unused apps automatically (only when storage is low), see how much storage each app is occupying and review large attachments in Messages.
Keep your favorite notes at the top of the list. Here’s how to pin a note in iOS 11. Learn more about Notes: https://t.co/UxvcESWr6u pic.twitter.com/kjgS3MK8lN
— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) October 1, 2017
Turn off Review & Rating Requests
A big issue with having too many apps is that many will ask you to rate or review them via a pop-up notification while using the app. Many go so far as to show you this message every time you open the app. Developers do need to get constructive user feedback in order to improve apps but these constant notifications are too much. In iOS 11, you can prevent all apps from showing such notifications. Open Settings > iTunes & App Store, scroll to see the option of ‘In-App Rating & Reviews’. It is enabled by default and you just need to disable it to stop getting the pesky in app notifications.
Markup Web Pages
In Safari, when you have a webpage open, tap the Share button and scroll to find a new option called Create PDF. It will capture the entire webpage and you can use the markup tool on the top right to annotate/draw on it, add your signature or even more text. Once saved, you can share your PDF immediately. You can also just use the create PDF option to grab a screenshot of a really long webpage.
Typing using the mini keyboard thingy on iOS 11. Kinda nice actually, but I miss SwiftKey swiping… pic.twitter.com/6IAz5zsZwv
— ??RYAN??@????? (@TimothyRyanJP) September 19, 2017
If you’re using the default Apple keyboard, many of the old tricks remain (hard press on the keyboard brings up a cursor, for instance) but there’s a new feature that makes it easier for the ‘Plus’ iPhone users to type with a single hand. If you tap and hold the little globe icon on the keyboard, you’ll see options for mini keyboards – which can be placed to the left or right of the screen.
Moving Multiple Apps
Rearranging apps on your homescreen used to be a tedious process. Previous iOS versions allowed you to move one app at a time, from one screen to another screen. Multiple app movement is simple now – tap and hold an app icon to enter edit mode and then tap the other apps you want to move. As you tap the other apps, they will move behind the selected apps and an overlay will show you the number of apps you have selected. You can then move all the grouped apps together to another screen.
Notes on the Lock Screen
If you don’t want to unlock your phone to take notes – or if someone else regularly uses your phone to jot down some notes, you can enable the Notes shortcut in the Control Center. Go to Settings > Control Center > Customise Controls. Under the list of more controls, press the + against Notes. There are bunch of other things you can configure in the Notes app itself. Go to Settings > Notes > Access Notes from Lock Screen. In case you want to ensure that no one has access to your notes, just check the ‘always create new note’ option.
FaceTime for Posterity
You’re normally ‘Facetiming’ with loved ones and sometimes, they’re halfway around the world. In an active chat, you’ll see a shutter button on the lower left corner. Tap it and the next few seconds will be saved as a live photo. You can’t be sneaky about it though, because the other person will get a notification that you’ve saved a photo. Make sure the FaceTime Live Photos option is switched on in Settings > FaceTime before you start that call. Note that both devices need to have iOS 11 for it to work.
Type to Siri
Siri on iOS 11 is literally saving my life on this trip ???? @tim_cook pic.twitter.com/KgWaC4JnRm
— Pablo Ortega (@PaulLenk) September 24, 2017
Hard to imagine, but not everyone likes talking to Siri. Productivity can suffer as a result because Siri can do a lot of mundane tasks for you. On some occasions, you may not want Siri to speak out what you’ve asked for. And there may be some users who are unable to speak clearly enough for Siri to understand. For all these reasons, iOS now has type to Siri. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Siri to enable this option. Both voice and type cannot be active at the same time so you’ll have to switch this off if you want to go back to speaking.
Mighty Useful Tweaks
These are tiny changes, but very useful nonetheless. You can draw or add a handwritten note in Mail. Long press on a new mail and in the contextual menu, scroll right and tap insert drawing. In Notes, you can now build tables. While editing a note, tap the big Plus icon and the first option is now table. You can add rows/columns as you move and each cell will expand as required. The default camera app now has QR code scanning built in. And finally, playback of high-res FLAC files is now supported (within the Files app only).
For those long-term Bungie fans, many know that the Seventh has always been a date favored by the company. Typically their in-game launches take place on those dates, so it only makes sense that Destiny 2 players are sure that the first Secret Quest will be revealed on October 7th. Pair that with Bungie already confirming several big events on the way for October, the Secret Quest reveal seems all the more likely. Here’s why.
The first Iron Banner will be dropping this October alongside of a few other added in-game adventures. For those looking to take on the Leviathan Raid in a new fashion, the Prestige difficulty is also on its way this month. With the addition of the Secret Quests, many players that are bouncing around in the post-campaign content are looking forward to seeing what other new changes have been slated since the first Destiny hit.
Talking with other players, scouring the message forums, and our own personal take on Bungie’s usual style – here are some of the popular theories as to what the drop might look like for Secret Quest loot, and where it could take place.
The biggest theory that Destiny fans are bringing up is the secret area during the 1AU mission during the main campaign. The theory is that this room will unlock for the Special Quest, which is believed to be on October 7th. A few Guardians have already gotten a taste of this secret room through in-game glitches, but it didn’t reveal anything more than a few enemies. If this is anything like the Black Spindle mission in the first Destiny, if the room will house the new quest; it is possible that what is inside will be completely different.
The second most popular theory making its rounds concerns Io. The hope is that though the world quests seen on this planet end once Man of War is obtained, that with the Secret Quest opening up will bring back the ability to continue on for the quest to unlock an exotic linear fusion rifle.
Of the two, the first seems more likely, and more enjoyable, regarding more fleshed out content. Only a week to go to see if these theories prove correct and what else Bungie has in store for Guardians all over the world.
Also coming this week is a planned maintenance schedule for a few key hotfixes, including the ever present PlayStation 4 hiccups. For more on what’s targeted and when the period will take place, check out Bungie’s schedule here.
Destiny 2 is out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with a PC release slated for October 24th.
As detailed in a new report from ZDNet, the FBI will not be required to disclose how it unlocked the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone early last year. The decision comes after several major news organizations filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit to reveal the tool and its price.
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In the ruling, federal judge Tanya Chutkan explained that revealing details about vendor and cost would “amount to putting a target on its back.”
“It is logical and plausible that the vendor may be less capable than the FBI of protecting its proprietary information in the face of a cyber-attack,” said the court. “The FBI’s conclusion that releasing the name of the vendor to the general public could put the vendor’s systems, and thereby crucial information about the technology, at risk of incursion is a reasonable one.”
Speculation was rampant as to how much the FBI paid for the unlocking tool, with some reports claiming just $15,000 and others over $1 million. The court likewise this weekend said that releasing the price would “designate a finite value” for the unlocking technology.
“Releasing the purchase price would designate a finite value for the technology and help adversaries determine whether the FBI can broadly utilize the technology to access their encrypted devices,” said the court.
Apple went toe-to-toe with the FBI over unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone 5c, saying that it didn’t have the technology to do so. Tim Cook called the creation of such a tool the “software equivalent of cancer” as the company stood firm on its decision not to help the FBI in the case.
“The only way we know would be to write a piece of software that we view as sort of the software equivalent of cancer. We think it’s bad news to write. We would never write it. We have never written it.”
The court ruling this weekend seems to be an attempt to finally put this case to rest for good, but whether or not that turns out to be true remains to be seen.
If you head to the upper most walkway, at the same position where you spawn in (use the slanted platform going up left from where you enter) and approach the water tanks to read the ‘Don’t Pick Me Up’ prompt.
Doing so will trigger the Floor is Lava mini-game. A tower of light will appear at the other end of the Tower, and the aim is to get there without touching the floor.
You can touch the walkway until the metal flooring ends on either side before damage kicks in. Otherwise, all other flooring will hurt.
Railings, boxes and benches are fine to stand on, as they aren’t the floor – and you must use these to reach your goal.
You can touch the floor briefly several times, and it’s this grace period that lets you move between railings, so choose your route carefully.
If you die, you can try again and the end goal may change, which can be useful if you’re struggling on a particular route.
When you complete it, you’ll receive the Quickness buff, giving you additional speed and height to explore the Tower. This will wear out after a short period of time, or if you leave the Tower instance, so make use of it while you can.
How to spawn Destiny 2’s Tower Ball
Fans of the original Destiny may remember the Purple Ball you can play with, keeping it up in the air like a beach ball at a festival.
It returns in Destiny 2’s Tower, and is the first step of a mini-game that allows you to spawn different colour balls, and eventually, a giant Tower-styled Ball.
How it works is you must move each Ball from its spawn point to a different goal within the Tower. Once it reaches its destination, fireworks will appear and the Ball will fade out, spawning the next colour back at the spawn point. Once you have done all four colours, the Tower ball will spawn.
Each Ball spawns in the same location – directly above from where you start. Use the slanted platform to your left from where you enter the social space, then jump off to the left, and you’ll see it resting on some crates.
If this – or any other coloured Balls – aren’t there (because another player took it or you nudged it off the map) it’ll respawn again here soon.
Purple Ball: Facing the Traveller, you have to take this on this same level, on the far right side, where a giant circle is on the ground.
Green Ball: Facing the Traveller, this is behind the Eververse, down a small set of steps. On the corner of these steps going down is where the Ball needs to go.
Black Ball: Facing the Traveller, this needs to go on the upper most walkway behind and left of you. The easiest way to do this is by using the slanted platform to the left – the same one you use to get up, so knock the ball off in front then round and up – then go straight ahead to the very end.
Blue Ball: Facing the Traveller, it’s straight ahead, in the middle of the walkway running across connecting to the two others. So hit the ball forward, along towards Vanguard Faction leader Zavalla, then right onto the walkway, then into the middle.
Once you have done all four, the Tower Ball will appear, along with a shower of fireworks in the sky.
The above can be particularly difficult if other players are getting in the way of you moving the Ball. Again, if it gets kicked off, then return to the spawn point and the Ball should appear shortly after.
It’s also worth learning how far the Ball goes with each ‘kick’, allowing you to better judge the distance to land it directly in the areas you need it to go. If it travels too far, then consider nudging it to the side so you can hit it from a different and hopefully more successful angle.
Want more on Destiny 2? Our Destiny 2 guide tells you everything else there is to know on the game so far, including Lost Sectors, Treasure Map locations, Heroic Public Events, and Flashpoints on EDZ, Titan, Nessus and Io. Elsewhere we explain how to Power level to the 265, 300 and 350 Power caps, as well as what to spend Glimmer on, how to join Clans and how Mods, Infusion, and Engrams and Legendary Shards work, Crucible tips, a Destiny 2 Exotics list, details on the Nightfall schedule, Trials of the Nine and the weekly reset, how to unlock classes and subclasses, and how to complete the Destiny 2 Raid.
Destiny 2 Tower Secret Room
There are a lot of additional side room and journals to scan throughout the Tower, rewarding you for taking the time to explore, but there is one particular room that is out the way and worth visiting.
If you head to the Hangar, then go behind the Dead Orbit headquarters, you can take the stairs behind two levels up. Then, jump off the ledge to the right, onto some pipes, and across again into a ventilation area.
Follow it through to the end to reach a secret room with an audio log to find involving Ana Bray – which seems to have something to do with SIVA, the enemy faction from Destiny’s Rise of Iron expansion. Interesting, right?
If you’re stuck finding the route, ShadowRock9’s video above shows the exact location of where you need to go.